51 minutes | Oct 22, 2017
Engaging Grief with a Good God
One of the biggest questions of the ages is why is there pain, suffering & evil – especially if you believe in an all-powerful, all-loving God. Cody Whittington, ministry director at Shepherd’s Heart, teaches on this topic from John 11 and shares from personal loss to discuss the Christian elements of mystery, movement, and meaning in our grief. Recorded live at After Hours Ribs & Brew in Belgrade, Montana. Automated Transcript You guys hear me okay. All right. Well, I’m really glad to be here and I’d love to tell you that story and more depth as we get to know each other very cool story. I said no to Montana twice. I tried to try to keep pushing back on God and it just, it was just not what he wanted. So I’m really glad to be here. My wife and I my family and I we love it here and I heard Somebody moved to Georgia recently from both and I’m like, Hi, Hi, are you doing and I do, I do enjoy it here. We were really glad to be here. And God has been doing some incredible things. Since we’ve been here. And since he shared a little bit about me, I’m not gonna go into too much detail just for time sake. And I would love to grab a coffee with you. If that’s something you’d want to do and get to know you guys a little bit better. I’ve kind of been hanging back last couple of months so I can kind of get to know some of you guys. So if you have your Bibles, if you like you like Do you want to dive into your Bibles? Go to john chapter 11. I’ll meet you there in a minute. And if you would rather walk look at the screen as we walk through a pretty extensive text. Whatever way you best receive information, whether it’s reading or listening, focus in on that we’re going to read a pretty significant passage here in a minute. But the topic we’re talking about tonight is one that’s near and dear and probably more than any other topic has shaped who I am and my faith in Christ. And it has been a it’s been a huge part of my life and my family. family’s life and my wife and I, Christy, and our two kids. And that’s the topic of grief and loss and and how to engage that and walk through it. So the topic tonight is engaging grief with a good God. And it’s pretty obvious when you look at the world right now we’ve got a lot of crazy things happening. The hurricanes, the the the shooting, you’ve got fires, and you’ve got earthquakes, all sorts of stuff is happening right now. And a lot of people are trying to make sense of it. A lot of people are trying to figure out what is going on. And this is nothing new tragedies and things that happen all throughout the world. And all throughout history. People try to make sense of suffering. And my hope tonight, I don’t want to try to explain away suffering and as you will not hear my testimony. I don’t know that there’s a good theological, persuasive answer that makes sense of everything nice and then categorized box for us. I know that exists. But I do believe that Christians have the best message, the most comprehensive response and how walk through some of these tough things and not only globally but personally this has been an intense season for Christina and our family. As we’ve been walking through a season of grief and loss on September on September 23, we landed in Houston, Texas, to go visit my wife’s family. And my wife’s mom is entering into or is in well into stage four of her cancer. And we went down to say basically what will likely be unless God does a Lazarus like miracle might will probably be our goodbyes. It’s one of the hardest things I ever had to do was to watch my wife say those final words to her and, and try to keep up with her mom as we’re driving away looking out the window. Getting one last glimpse was really tense moment for us. The day we landed, now, we landed on the 23rd and we stayed a several days but the night we landed, also got a text that my grandpa had passed away from his his battle with cancer. And in that moment, it was just one of those things where began to ask these questions begin to have some things going on in my heart really began to wrestle with and trying to figure out how to minister to my wife, but also trying to figure out how to how to grieve that loss all at one time, I’m not able to go to my grandpa’s funeral on distant things are just tense. We come back. About a week and a half, two weeks after we get back, I get a call that one of our good family friends decided to take his own life. And I’m sitting here thinking about like, what the heck is going on? So not only I’m looking at things globally, trying to make sense of things, but we’re also walking through a season, personally. But once again, I really do believe that Christians have the best response and explanation for why things are the way they are. We don’t answer we don’t have all of our questions answered. But I believe the text that we’re going to look at and john 11 will help us navigate through it a little bit. That’s my hope. And I hope that if you’re in here, you’re a believer, I hope you feel more equipped and encouraged and if you’re not a believer, I pray that you at least have a question. Starting point to how to think about this through a Christian lens. So let’s pray and we’ll jump in. Father, thank you so much for your word. We thank You for Your grace and mercy. Father, as we dive into a tense topic, just please be with us in your Holy Spirit. God, we ask that you just bring your presence in a piece in this room, or because I know I’m not the only one walking through junk right now. So Father, just bring peace and clarity and comfort as we walk through this text in Jesus name. Amen. Alright, so it’s a long passage. So we’re going to take a deep breath, and we’re going to work through it. And then we’re just gonna make some observations. I really don’t have a bunch of points for you guys want to make some observations about this tech. So we’re going to read verses one through 46. So let’s take a deep breath. And here we go. He john 11. One. It says now a certain man was ill Lazarus of Bethany, the village of Marion or sister Martha. It was Mary who anointed the Lord with ointment and wiped his feet with her hair, whose brother Lazarus was ill so the sister said him saying, Lord, he whom you love is ill. But when Jesus heard it, he said, this illness does not lead to death and just for the glory of God so that the Son of God may be glorified through it. Now Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus. So when he heard that Lazarus was ill, he stayed two days longer, in the place where he was. Then after this, he said that the disciples, let us go to Judea again. And the disciples said to him, Rabbi, the Jews were just now seeking to stone you and you’re going there again. Jesus answered, are there not 12 hours in a day if anyone walks in the day he does not stumble because he sees the light of the world. But if anyone walks in night, he stumbles, because the light is not in him. After saying these things, he said to them, our friend Lazarus has fallen asleep, but I go to awaken him. The disciples said to him, Lord, if he is falling asleep, he will recover. Now Jesus had spoken on his His death, but they thought that human he was taking, taking in a deep sleep. Then Jesus told them plainly, Lazarus has died. And for your sake, I’m glad that I was not there so that you may believe. But let us go to him. So Thomas called the twin said his fellow disciples, let us all go, that we may die with him. Now, when Jesus came, he found Lazarus had already been dead in the tomb for four days, Bethany was near Jerusalem, about two miles off. And many of the Jews had come to Martha and Mary to console them concerning their brother. So when Martha heard that Jesus was coming, she went and met him. But Mary remain seated in the house. Martha said to Jesus, Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died. But even now I know that whatever you ask from God, God will give you. Jesus said to her, Your brother will rise again. And Martha said, I know that he will rise again in the resurrection on the last day. Jesus said to her, I am the resurrection and the Live. Whoever believes in me though he died yet shall he live. And everyone who lives and believes in me shall never died. Do you believe this? She said him. Yes, Lord, I believe that you are the Christ, the Son of God who was coming into the world. When she had said this, she went and called her sister Mary saying and private, the teacher is here and is calling for you. And when she heard it, she rose quickly and went to him. Now Jesus did not yet come into the village, but was still in the place where Martha had met him. When the Jews who were with her in the house, consoling her saw Mary rise quickly and go out. They followed her supposing that she was just going to the tomb to weep there. Now, when Mary came to where Jesus was, and she saw him she fell at his feet saying to him, Lord, if only you had been here, my brother would not have died. When Jesus saw her weeping and the Jews who had come with her, also weeping, he was deeply moved in the spirit and greatly trouble and he said, Where have you laid him? They said, Lord, come and see. Jesus wept. So the Jews said, see how he loved him. But some of them said, Could he could not he who opened the eyes of the blind also have kept this man from dying. Then Jesus deeply moved again came to the tomb, it was a cave and a stone lay against it. Jesus said, Take away the stone. Martha, the sister of the dead man said to him, Lord, by this time, there will be an odor for he has been dead for four days. Jesus said to her, Did I not tell you that if you believed you would see the glory of God? So they took away the stone. And Jesus lifted up his eyes and said, Father, I thank you that you have heard me I know that you always hear me but I said this on the account of the people standing around that they may believe you sent me. When he had said these things, he cried out with a loud voice, Lazarus come out. The man who had died, came out to his hands and feet bound with linen strips in his face wrapped with a cloth and Jesus said to them, and bind him and let him go. Many of The Jews, therefore, who would come with Mary and had seen what he did believed in him, but some of them went to the Pharisees, and told them what Jesus have done. Well, that’s all the time we have for tonight. This is a very, very interesting text. Now, I truly believe that this text most clearly expresses the heart of Jesus for those who are brokenhearted and what he has done to help. And the reason why we read that whole long story is because this is a story that’s not meant to be really taken apart. This is a story that’s meant to be captured all at once. And the climax is of course, Lazarus, Lazarus being raised from the dead, Jesus proving or proclaiming through it, that He is God, that He has the authority over life over death. And that he is who He says He is and that we can trust them. And now of course, that is the climax. But just like a movie, you can’t start on the climax game you. You gotta spend some time in the rising action. Setting into the story, allowing it to seep into your soul allowing it to invade your heart. That’s what we read the whole text because I want this text to invade our hearts tonight as we talk about this issue. And I really believe that this text reveals the complexity and reality of grief and life. It truly does. I’m not gonna get into all the details about what did the other religions believe and why they believe what they believe I’m going to be approaching this from a from a Christian worldview strictly. But I found over the last eight and a half years that Christianity does, in fact, have the most honest, gut wrenching, nearly heartbreaking, yet true, hopeful and redemptive message when it comes to suffering. and embrace it tells us it’s a real deal. We have to walk through it, not around it. You can’t avoid it. It’s not an illusion. It’s not meaningless. sufferings unfair sometimes. It’s unjust. It’s done at the hands of the unjust. There’s a really important passage where Jesus says if the thief comes to steal, kill and destroy, and it’s pretty clear that we live in a world or one of the primary influences over it’s not just your neighbor, but the enemy is wreaking havoc. And we get to choose how we respond to that. But this text is important because Jesus identifies with us in every single way. And Hebrews four talks about that we don’t have a high priest who can’t sympathize with us. He knows what we’ve gone through. You follow the life of Jesus very quickly, he was born into poverty. He was rejected by most of the religious leaders, abandoned by his friends put on a cross while he was innocent. His family thought he was crazy. On the human side of Jesus, what we see is that he cannot identify with us, Miss Texas, very honest about that. So what I want you to do, I want you to think about a moment of grief and loss that maybe you have experienced in your life, from whatever whatever it is maybe some of you lost a friend, a family member, maybe divorce, maybe, maybe a financial crisis, maybe a job loss, whatever, whatever that is, whatever moment brought you grief, I want you to allow that for a moment. as men were told this stuff and I don’t want you to stop it. I want you to allow it to come up. And I want you to let it settle for a minute. And think about that. Allow it just to simmer while we talk to this. three elements I just want to walk through about this text, not going to go through it in depth. If you want to go through this type of stuff in depth, I encourage you to come to sunrise cafe we’re going to be spending eight weeks talking about this, this tough stuff in a couple weeks starting. But for now, there’s three elements that rise to the surface as I’ll read this, the complexity of mystery, the need for mourning, and the meaning that we find in Jesus So let’s just go ahead and dive in. I want to start with a question and if you want to engage, you are definitely free to I’ll give you guys a couple seconds to respond. But what are some thoughts? When we’re talking about the complexity of mystery in our walk with Jesus? What are some when you’ve gone to think about that moment? When you’ve gone through grief? What are some questions that come up in your mind? He’s got something I’m sorry. How can God allow it? Sorry. Not there. What else? Where’s God? Why me? How’s this a part of your plan? Okay, yeah. Why? How were all these questions surface in our hearts Honestly, I’ve asked several questions like that myself looking at my mother in law, who’s one of the most godly women and her husband who’ve been primary influences in my spiritual walk. I didn’t grow up in a Christian home. The Lord was gracious to lead me to salvation in him but her Christie’s parents are have been hugely influential in my life. And I’m looking at her going, I went, when we first found out we kind of went and visited her. She began to put sticky notes of Psalms and proverbs all over her house. Why her? Why not honestly, honestly, I think why not this person over here? Why not that person? I could not I can bring you a line of people that I think need to be dealt with. Right. In this text, their questions are our questions today to this text is shrouded in mystery. Let’s walk through it for a minute. The beginning Jesus is told that his one of his best friends is sick. The first five verses make it abundantly clear that Jesus was deeply close with his family. Upon hearing it Jesus doesn’t go he stays for two days. Mystery the disciples are confused the Lord, why do you want to go back to Judea where you almost were stoned? You feel people at a distance before? Why not just hear them at a distance? The disciples were confused and concerned. Something even Thomas was being a little sarcastic. Let’s go die with them. Not courageous. Another mystery Jesus shows up onto the scene. Martha and Mary have obviously been sitting in this for four days, the first few days of grief are some of the most intense both of them asked the same question, or in a statement form. Now, it’s not a rebuke. It’s important. We know that they’re not rebuking Jesus. They have a grieving statement. Only you had been here. Are you moving a little bit further on? You have a skeptical crowd in the background saying hey, he healed the blind man. Could you not do this? I guess he’s not who He says He is. And the mystery for me that often gets overlooked that we need to pay attention to as I used to look at this. Nice to say Why did Jesus Why did Jesus raised Lazarus but not my brother who died when I was 13? What happened there? But I missed it. I didn’t keep reading CPE read john 12, nine and 10. Jesus raised Lazarus just for him to die again. The same Pharisees that plotted against Jesus and got Jesus on the cross, began to plot against Lazarus because he was a living proof that Jesus is who He says He is. You notice the Pharisees, the religious leaders, no one ever denies the miracles Jesus did no one. They just attributed to something else for someone else. No one. Why did Jesus raised Lazarus for him to go through that again? mysteries? their questions are our questions. And what I’ve found a lot of times when I begin to ask these questions like why, as I’ve walked with others through suffering as I’ve gone through some suffering and some grief and loss, what I found is that when I’m asking the question, why I’m not really looking for an answer, I’m looking for an escape. Looking for a way to not have to deal with the reality that things are the way they are. But the truth is, even if we had the answers, we wouldn’t be satisfied. You say no, I wouldn’t be satisfied. No, you wouldn’t. I promise you. It’s never enough one because as you follow that, as you follow the the whole meta narrative of Scripture, there are very few spots where God actually answers why he’s doing what he’s doing, why he’s allowing what he’s allowing one of the sponsors in a small little book in the Bible called back it. Back it starts and says, Listen to how he talks to God. Where are you? Why are you allowing violence? Why is injustice perverted? Are you sitting there doing nothing? What’s going on? God responds, giving him a detailed layout of everything that’s going to happen. Guess what? still didn’t believe them. Back nearby it told exactly what he’s doing we won’t understand it or we won’t even like it. We live in a culture that obsesses over knowledge and any any type of mystery is not okay. See, for the unbeliever mystery ultimately will lead to misery but for the believer mystery actually leads to meaning. See, we worship God and a lot of the mystery not in spite of it. His questions are tense. And a lot of times Has anybody ever answered you when you’ve asked why? How’d that go? Maybe you had a really good pastor maybe had a really good discipleship pastor, maybe you had a really good friend who’s able to help you navigate to that. Most people get answers like, Well, God just punched this ticket. Really, God just needed another angel. I mean, think that’s theologically accurate. We get these comments that are intended to be okay and good. But they only take us off even more. When I was 13 years old. As I mentioned a minute ago, my brother passed away in a car accident. And I didn’t grow up in a church home. But I was introduced to Jesus by a friend when I was six. And that was the only framework I had for thinking about faith and life. And then, when Jason died, our family was already going through some turmoil because they’d my parents have just split. We have moved states they both remarried really quickly was a really, really tense time in our life. And when my brother died, I remember people trying to explain to me why God did what he did, and it only pushed me further and further and further away, because I couldn’t, no way. No. And it was a it was a mystery to me. But ended up moving away from God instead of pressing in but very rarely Does the Bible give us reasons why things happen the way they do? Jesus tells us to live in the tension, not solve it. Across the board rarely gives us reasons Jesus is more focused about how we respond to the reality that we face when we come with suffering. Every find it find it everywhere very little time is given to Well, the reason for this is that and this is that Jesus says, No, it’s more about the response. Follow the Bible, follow the New Testament, you’ll find every time that there’s a hard time Jesus is encouraging and provoking a response. He embraces the real look right here he was john, the author is very careful to say that God did not cause this illness. There is a high theological debate that we don’t have time to go into about all that, but I will say this this particular text it seems like John’s making it painfully clear that God did not cause the sickness but rather it’s an occasion through which God will be glorified. People have got an understand understand their different perspectives in the room. That’s just my personal taken however on it. And there’s several other texts that bring it bring out some mystery. But the one thing about this text that I find is what Jesus has done as we move throughout the story is essentially when he says I’m the resurrection on the life. This is something remarkable when he when he asked Mary or Martha when he says, Do you believe this? She says, Yes, Lord, I believe Martha is in the darkest moment of her life. She is probably now the head of the household. Her brother is just dead of an illness. And if you know I mean, if you’ve seen that somebody gets sick, you know the pain it is to watch them get sick. And Jesus says, Do you believe? Do you believe that’s important? Jesus asked a very important what do you believe not? Do you understand? You believe not Do you understand? It’s a prompting for trust and faith that God is who He says He is. That we can trust him in the mystery. And basically what I’ll take away from that we always quote proverbs three, lean not on your own understanding, we usually forget that first part, though trust in the Lord, lean not in your own understanding. And what this text seems to teach me as I’ve walked through some things in the last several months and years is that I can have peace in my heart without having the answer in my head. Jesus is that good? And through living in not trying to solve but living in the mystery, we see the need and need for morning which is the second thing that surfaces out of here, guys, this is a very difficult context. Martha and Mary have lost a brother Jesus has lost a friend. What are some emotions? Don’t try to Don’t try to solve it. Don’t try to go too deep. But what are some emotions that arise? What did it Feel like in that moment of grief and loss that’s kind of simmering with you right now. Anger. What else? Fear. Well, abandonment just goes on and on and on. It’s an emotional toll when you lose something, and you’re thrown into grief. So once again, feel that in the story. I’m not good at morning. This text tells us we need I think we need to mourn. I’m not good at it. I didn’t realize I was good at it until the first year after first year Christian I got married. Soon my brother died. I didn’t know how to respond that had never happened to us. So I detached and my parents let me they didn’t understand how to work through it either. We all were very confused. So that we all deal with it how we how we felt like we should do I detached. I avoided it. I ignored it. I didn’t even go to my brother’s funeral. walk around with that every day. What I didn’t realize is that my detachment became a rhythm in my life. Moving forward, I didn’t know Geez What kind of didn’t care about Jesus after that? And it was through a pastor who came alongside me and stopped trying to answer my questions and just would sit with me and talk with me, who led me actually to an active trust in Jesus when I was 17. But I still never went back and dealt with issues that I had had in the past ended up getting married at the wise age of 20. And first year of marriage, we moved away from our family and friends to Austin. We are away from everybody. We knew things were going okay had a little tension in our marriage like anybody else our first year, and then we had a miscarriage. I never learned how to mourn. So what did I do? detach And what I found out is a detached and I tried to avoid it. By the way, that’s a lot of what the non believers or non non non Christian or non or even other religions teach you avoid it, if you can. It’s just not a reality though is it? No matter how hard we work, we can we can avoid it. So I began to avoid it, walked around it tried to walk around it. What I did was I made myself busy because that’s what we do when we’re avoiding something. We make ourselves busy and busy myself in the ministry where I was leading worship, and I was visiting myself in the financial world where I was trying to advance my career and rise to the top and I was doing very well in both having a lot of cool opportunities. Bearing bearing bearing. What I did was I made myself busy, immerse myself in ministry and completely forgot about my wife came home one day and she said, Cody, it’s either me or ministry. And I tried to defend myself at first and I’m doing God’s work, right. I forgot that engineer. Since the first ministry is actually a marriage had a little spat over the next day that the Spirit really convicted me it was a God thing because I was not in a place where I would want to receive it. So God broke my heart. We went decided to get counseling, praise God. And we stepped off stepped out of ministry for a couple of years so that I could focus on my marriage and, and get right in that way. And we joined a healthy church, that we had men walking with me and women walking with Christie, things were going well, everything was good, and we learned so much. And that’s where I learned that I’ve detached instead of actually deal with the reality of the pain and suffering in my life. Not good at morning still. And in this text, you see that people mourn differently and that’s okay. People mourn differently. We need to get people to freedom to mourn. We do men, you guys can mourn. It’s okay. That’s something for some reason we just don’t do. But they’re all morning differently, but I’ll ask them the same questions. Where were you? Where are you, Martha? She’s, she’s more like me, I process things out. I’m not I’m not really an emotional. I don’t really dive too much into the emotional side of morning until later at first I process things. I process things kind of like Martha, she begins with theological principles. Jesus says Your brother will rise against you cuz I know he’s gonna rise again on the last day. Jesus says, No, no, you’re missing the point. Thought about your theological principles. It’s about having a personal relationship with me because in me you have peace here and now life you’re in now. So he moved her from theological principle to personal relationship with Him. And from that, her theology shifted because you see that she said, You are the Christ, you are the Son of God is coming into the earth. Start with a personal relationship. But she started with the theological principles trying to make sense of things in her head. But Martha, here comes Martha is done. Here comes Mary onto the scene. She’s processing things not with their head, but with her heart. She’s before Jesus, where were you notice Jesus meets them right where they are. he engages Martha on that principle level. And I’m talking about kind of the theology behind the stuff. He meets with Mary by weeping with Mary. And then he even meets with by this or meets the skeptics where they are by guess what doing a public profession saying, hey, just in case, I’m going to say, I’m going to shout out publicly to God, because you want you need to see that this is him doing it. This is what I am capable of as the Son of God. So it makes a public profession so that the skeptics will even see and we see that it works because some of them believe he meets people where they are in their morning. So everyone’s morning in this text, even Jesus, it says twice that he was deeply troubled in his spirit greatly troubled twice. You don’t have to dig too deep to find out that this these words, deeply troubled in the spirit has greatly trouble. This really has the sense if you if you trace it through their lives. And through its original uses, what you find is that these terms actually describe the snorting of an angry animal about to charge. But doesn’t sound right in our English and say Jesus snorted, right? But it’s as if Jesus, and this can happen internally or externally. Jesus is about to charge death. That’s what’s happening here. He’s looking at the situation. He is deeply grieved deeply troubled, because humanity has been wrought with sin. God has stepped into humanity in and through Jesus, and he is experiencing the weight of the of the things that we feel. This is bigger than just what’s happening with Lazarus. We know this because when it says Jesus wept, the word for wept is different than the word that is used when it talks about Mary weeping, the word that’s used for Jesus weeping, it actually there it actually means, the type of lament that we see before a calamity. It is not just hears it is a it is a deep passionate almost you can say A universal sense of feeling the weight of the world on him, and he’s angry at death. He’s angry at the stuff that’s going on and he charges death he charges for the cross. This is the last. This is the moment that provokes the Pharisees to get him to the cross. This is the last time that Jesus is addressed as Rabbi or teacher by his disciples because in a couple months, he’s going to be on the cross. This is a moment. This is his William Wallace Braveheart moment. He’s feeling the weight. about this. There’s so much foreshadowing Lazarus come out because I’m going in. That’s how I read that. He calls Lazarus out. He’s going to step in. It’s an illustration for us to understand. That grief, death all that doesn’t really have a hold on us. If we are in Christ Jesus has gone in so that we don’t have to. Does that remove the reality of death here and now? No. Does make life easy? No. But through this through understanding how Jesus is morning, and how he sets an example for us that guess what we can be angry at death. It’s okay. I used to feel guilty as a young believer making trying to make sense of my emotions as I’m trying to work through the grief that I was experiencing. It’s okay to be angry. It’s okay to be frustrated. I’m confident enough in this what Jesus is teaching us here to say that we can get angry at death, we can be mad. And I think that the reason why death always hurts if you’re ever to a point where death doesn’t hurt, you have become indifferent and that is not healthy. But the reason why death hurts so much. The last nine years I’ve been in ministry I’ve watched young teenagers take their last breath their parents, pull the plug I’ve seen three students commit suicide, the room and I’ve never gotten used to it every time it drives me to a point where I’m like, uncomfortable. I can’t say anything, neither can Jesus so he weeps. But death always hurts and will hurt on this side of life because I honestly believe we were not designed for death we were designed for life. Death is an intruder, it is a disruption to what God has created within us. And the fact that we get outraged by death is proof that our souls cry out and call out for something beyond ourselves. And I believe that that longing to have that life was put there by the Lord. And until we meet Jesus until we come to a point of active trust in Jesus, that longing of our heart will never be satisfied, has to be connected with the Lord who established in Christ that our morning is giving a deeper sense of meaning. I know plenty of people who are not believers who have gone through grief who have gone through death and they have made it okay. They’re okay let’s say I don’t need them I made it Okay, I’ll tell you that there’s a deeper level that you can tap into in Jesus that you can’t get anywhere else that makes your morning meaningful. But it’s okay to be angry. I had to I had to make sense of that. After we had our after we had our first miscarriage got out of ministry spent some time out, we found ourselves back in ministry. We had we had two kids in between coven Maggie, they’re pretty awesome kids. Things are going well, we get pregnant again. Our third and we actually been talking about this when our first two weren’t planned God plan that we didn’t. This one we’ve been talking about praying for. We get pregnant. And we go into the doctor’s office, everything is things good yours too soon to see anything. Everything’s fine. Just come back next week. You’ll see a heartbeat by that time. We go in. We don’t see a heartbeat next week. This is Mother’s Day weekend and they tell us your miscarry. And on Mother’s Day weekend summer we get on my hands and knees one God, please do not do this on Mother’s Day please not stain Mother’s Day with this on my wife for the rest of her life. We got with the church and we begin to pray that God would do a miracle because I still believe he does miracles. So we are praying for a miracle God move God move God move. And I’ve been told God God if if you’re wanting to give us life, let there be a heartbeat. Lord, if you’re not wanting to give us life here, then let there not be a heartbeat. let it pass. Let’s just move on. Please. We go into the doctor the next week, we see a heartbeat of the coolest moment of our life. Doctors were confused. Everyone was confused. We were confused. We call our friends Eric has a heartbeat. There was supposed to be a heartbeat that she’s already supposed to have the miscarriage. The doctor is like well, babies I mean it’s healthy heartbeat and strong heartbeat. This is okay. Wow. We go to the church we started celebrating the folks and the next day Christy had a little pain in her sides. We took her in Doctor said, well, the heartbeat still there. Let’s go ahead and run some tests just in case and the next day was Friday. We’re approaching our anniversary weekend and getting ready to go out of town. And I’m saying some final words so our pastor and one of my friends and I’ve noticed that and see my wife saw step onto the hallway in the hallway is kind of across the room from the bathroom, and I hear my wife sobbing uncontrollably exactly what that meant. She was in the girls bathroom, drop my stuff. I ran into the girls bathroom. I sat down with her and I was all this emotion. I didn’t know was it okay to feel I don’t. I begin to pray over Christie verbally pray over her while she was sobbing, trying to make sense of this. And she did miscarry. A few days later. Something happened in that moment though. That didn’t happen in miscarriage one. I was with her. She was with me. We were praying in the midst of it. We were morning together and our our faith was reinforced because of it. Our commitment to God our commitment to one another had grown immensely between miscarriage one and miscarriage to an in between miscarriage one and miscarriage two while we were out of ministry came home one day we had a spot on Christy’s leg that we were fearful about. took her to the doctor. couple days later they give us a call see Christie Crimean Scott malignant melanoma pregnant in her second trimester at that point in time I didn’t know how to respond but I responded the best I knew how we got out some oil. I didn’t know anything about healing and oil and all that type of stuff I said as in the Bible we’re going to do we prayed over her we put some will on her head. We just pray, pray, pray, pray, pray. Whenever the doctor the doctors, like it’s a decent size, I can’t tell you anything until I get in there and take it out. So I went in there and took it out. And praise god she made it through and she’s cancer free. Two weeks later, we went to go find out a cove is a boy or girl. Find out that he’s going to be born with some cranial facial deformities is going to need surgery. Are you kidding me? But something happened between miscarriage when a miscarriage to in and through both of those moments deep moments of grief. Those things threw us into intense morning confusion, but it caused us to press into God. It caused some other grief and other areas it It took a financial toll on us. That we’re still recovering from today. But God strengthened us as we mourn. And I think that’s what Jesus is teaching us here. Because Blessed are those who are comforted for they are blessed are those who mourn for they will be comforted. That’s a promise. That’s not a statement. That’s a proclamation. And one scholar argues that the word for Blessed is actually is actually the best word for happy Rather, he argues, is flourishing. flourishing are those who mourn for they will be comforted. See morning provides the context for you to meet God and for you to grow in that need for morning. So we can be angry, I was angry, you can be upset, I was upset. You can be mad at death because we weren’t designed for it. And you cry out to God. Let’s move on to the last thing through morning. We will do find meaning in Christ. See, when we get to the meaning part, I’m not talking about what What’s the meaning of this god, I’m talking about moving from Why did you do this to God? How are you going to use this? Why did this happen? How are you going to use this? That’s what I’m talking about. you uncover meaning in the midst of grief and suffering by beginning to shift your perspective a little bit. Do you realize that, that Jesus was trying to get the disciples to shift their perspective about death? When you use the word asleep? Do you guys realize that he was trying to shift Martha and Mary’s perception of who he was a saying I am the resurrection in the life. This whole was Jesus trying to shift our perspective on things. So we need to shift our perspective. I’m strongly encouraged and there is a time and a place for the y and to have those in depth theological conversations and philosophical conversations. I’m all for that not saying that elected. But William Abraham, he’s one of the brightest theological minds in our country riding over the one lamenting of his son says there is no persuasive theological answer for why Those types of things happen. And I agree with it. And he goes on to say the reason why you don’t sit there and try to explain away things want to try to find meaning in it is because we are so emotionally overwhelmed in those moments that we cannot cognitively receive it. Well, it takes some time. There was a time in a place. I think that’s what Jesus was actually silent. He never responded to their mystery questions. Instead, he moved close to him. So the question is, how how does God bring good out of our grief? Have you guys noticed that when tragedy happens, suffering happens all of a sudden everybody wants to know where God is. I think that’s part of how God uses it. He awakens our souls to contemplate the deeper things of life in the midst of tragedy and suffering and loss. It’s an occasion for him to move I would not choose to go through any of the crap that we’ve gone through. I wouldn’t trade it for anything. The what I feel like I’m learning haven’t arrived Far from it. I feel like I’m learning is that God has used every bit of the grief, the loss, the suffering, the turmoil to fashion something else. Where the enemy was throwing fire at us, trying to melt us down God like a potter puts us in the allows us to go in the furnace to harden us as in our faith. Think about that. There’s two stuff. There’s two parts. There’s two parts of the pottery process. There’s the molding. And what’s the next step? What are the side effect for living in a broken world and things break but the good news is Jesus uses those broken things and move them fixes them and uses that trial to strengthen our faith to fortify our faith. If we press enough, pull away are we making space for that? So he uses it to awaken our souls to contemplation, and he strengthens our devotion and dependency on him. That’s something I’ve learned during the during the second miscarriage is how deeply dependent Christian I had become on him. I didn’t even realize it until after the fact that we responded completely differently than we did the first time. Each time we’re walking through stuff, we’re uncovering God at a deeper level. And I can’t tell you that if something happened tomorrow that I wouldn’t call into question everything. I can’t. I probably would, because I’m a skeptic by nature. But I can tell you that he is good and we can trust him. And in Christ, the meaning is completely our perspective, once again, has shifted from the Y to the how and then we get to see what God does You see in Christ, we do not grieve like those who have no hope, as Paul would say. And he’s you know that every time Paul talks about faith, hope and love, not every time but majority The time is almost in the context of suffering. Do a do a search on some of those words and find out what’s actually happening when Paul’s talking about some of that good amount of time and some of the intention, it’s under the context of suffering green. You see, in Christ, we are spiritually brought to life because he is the resurrection and like what Jesus was saying is that you can have heaven as it you can have heaven as in you right now. Like there’s a there’s a part of heaven on earth as it is in heaven. Right now. I am the resurrection I’m not isn’t say hey, I’m going to be resurrected and a couple days, come back and talk to me then. I’ll see them. Hey, I’m not going to be coming back to life and and I’m going to be coming back to life in a couple days. Not until then. So just we’ll talk them about all this stuff. He doesn’t say that. He says I am. The resurrection. I am the life and how old All of these things kind of come together in this story. How the mystery of the comp of the complexity of the mystery how the need for our morning and how the meaning that we find in Christ come together really hinges upon this, this right here. Do you believe? Do you believe? Not? Do you understand? I love that the Bible is honest enough to tell us that we don’t have to understand all these other worldviews trying to make sense of it. And to me, they all fall completely short and they are bankrupt. You believe you trust God? He sees things completely from a different perspective. Much like when I take my kids to get their yearly shots, they’re in pain and they have no idea why I’m doing that to them as a father now, right know there’s some debate there too. Don’t get your kid shots, okay, whatever. Don’t send me an email. Don’t talk to me about that, please. I will respond. But like a father knows what’s best for his kids who don’t know what’s best for them. Our Father in Heaven knows what’s best for us when we when we think we do and we think we don’t. He knows what’s best. Is the I’m the resurrection in the life. He proclaimed this, and then he proved it through His resurrection. That’s the beauty of it. So the big question I want to close with tonight, as do do we trust him in the mystery? Do we trust him with our morning? Do we trust him with our meaning? And a couple points. really brief. I’m not giving you I’m not giving you the a lot of stuff because people mourn differently, but just some tangible things that I’ve learned and learning. As you walk through grief as you walk through morning. Learn to mourn well by being with God. The In his word, and being with others, and Philippines for 13 is I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me, right? The famous copy covers. But the next passage says, but you were kind to share my sufferings. Paul was writing that in the context of suffering and persecution. It was kind of you to share in my suffering since I’ve been here. And since we’re going through what we’re going through, Daniel and Doug and their families have surrounded me and have been encouraging to me. They cried with me, the guys at sunrise cafe. On Wednesday morning, surround me pray for me. And comfort me. Bob Swan who I had no really relationship with before I got here. Text Message I’m thinking about you. I’m praying for you. I’m praying for Christie teller. We love her. Got it. Thank you for sharing in my suffering. It’s meaningful. I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me but it was kind of you to share Paula saying, I can do all things that need in Christ, but I also need you. Be with God. Be in His Word. Figure out how he speaks to you and audibly through His Word. When you’re being with God, that means prayer and worship and meditation. And when you’re being in community, open yourself up. And if you’re not going through something, be that person who shares in this suffering. Live in the mystery, don’t try to solve it and don’t give up on miracles. Don’t give up on miracles. God still does incredible things. Some of you guys have seen some of those things. I think the heartbeat that we saw in that miscarriage, I think it was a miracle. You know why? Because God knows me. He knows that if he would have answered my prayer and said, when I said, Hey, just let it happen if it’s going to happen, he knows that if that would have happened, I would have became a different. When I saw the heartbeat, I felt like I was saying later, not now, but I’m in this with you. That was a miracle. Don’t give up on the miracle lasting look to the Lord. He comes close to us as we grieve. God came close to us in Jesus, Jesus came close to those who are mourning and he has come even closer to us in His Spirit that dwells within us. If we are in Christ, in the Spirit intercedes with us, and we have no words to say when we’re suffering. So the questions I want you to just unpack for a few minutes during Table Talk, do we trust them with the mystery? Do we trust them with the morning? Do we trust them with the meaning? Should we trust them? kind of discuss some of those things. And if once again, if you want to go grab a cup of coffee, if you want to hang out, I would love to hear your story. Because your stories encouraged me. And I need that too. So let me pray for you guys. Let me pray for the rest of the night. And then we’ll have some Table Talk. Father, thank you so much for your word. God help us as we mourn. Help us as we try to live in the mystery help us as we try to find meaning in Christ. I thank you for your word. Be with us in these few moments of conversation in Jesus name. Amen. Thanks, guys. Thank you for listening. To this resource by shepherds heart ministries. For more resources, subscribe to our channel, like us on Facebook or sign up for our newsletter. If you’re encouraged by these resources and would like to contribute financially, visit us on our website at www. dot Jefferts hartman.org. Your generosity will help us seek the lost, strengthen the found and together shine more brightly for Jesus Transcribed by https://otter.ai The post Engaging Grief with a Good God appeared first on Shepherd's Heart Ministries.
51 minutes | Sep 22, 2017
Adam LaRoche shares his story
Adam LaRoche, former Major League Baseball athlete and all around awesome guy, came out to Montana for some hunting. While here, he graciously agreed to share with us his personal story at After Hours Ribs & Brew. Thank you, Adam, for sharing your time and story with us! Be sure to check out www.DeliverFund.org which Adam mentions in this talk. Adam has joined the crusade against human trafficking, as we all should! Automated Transcript So, I was talking to my son in law Ryan, back in the springtime. He was on a business trip and come on up Brian. Adam wants to come on. And we’ll get this started. But he was just telling me how he met Adam and it was just kind of a common bond and forest hunting is always a common bond and but then it was beyond that. It was about what God was doing in their lives in reference to events like this. So I’ll let you kind of tell how that might connect for me. Guys, I’m writing record I, as you guys know, this is Adam, we last last fall we were at actually the thanks for the intro goes to Ty’s wife, Tara Bradford, we had a fundraiser for deliver fund org. You guys haven’t heard of that to really New Yorkers, organizations that’s working on dismantling disrupting human trafficking here in the US. And so we were down in St. Louis, we had a couple things in common. We like craft beer. And we like to hunt. And we love the Lord. So it was a it was an interesting space because it was a very fancy event. And Adam and I sat next to each other and hit it off talking about hunting. And the conversation got a little bit deeper. And what was cool is at the time of last fall, if you remember, daily duck, it started out for hours and talking with Adam about it. He’s been doing a very similar thing with the same mission. Down with men in his community in Kansas. So that was kind of how the conversation got going. We’ve stayed in touch we talked about shooting helping whitetail and, and this morning we got spooked the big bull thanks to blackberry 20 yards away. Adam had his gun on the pistol instead of is the loop on his bow, but we’ve been having fun. So we’re going back on but I was excited to bring him over here and I was very grateful that he was one on top. So that’s really cool, man. Thank you. Man, I can’t thank you guys as have not only for tonight and coming here. But also for allowing me to come on up on the ranch which I have no idea what I was getting very specific instructions not to tell anybody where this place was. I think it was what’s itself in here. Anyway beautiful place man. This is this is my favorite state. And I made that As matter of fact I took 100 here 16 years ago my wife and I came out at moonlight basin and spent a week here had a blast fell in love with this place. Nine months later had a kid so we have a good time. This morning, I got up and I was reminded of two things one if I need to move up here, if I wasn’t selling the whitetail deer my ranch in Kansas, I think we would be able to chase them out and enjoying everything you guys have and the mountains up here we don’t get to see a lot of into I was reminded how out of shape on and I want to clarify something because I hear this all the time. They said Well, you’re an athlete. You know how you got it. And I want to be very clear here there’s a, there’s a big difference between an athlete and a baseball player. Because if you can if you can get inside the locker room with us before a game i don’t think i don’t think football players or basketball players are in their kit cats and plan sold them 20 minutes before game starts. That is every Major League club Ah, so now we’re we’re, we’re not athletes, we’re baseball players. And I, you know, I’m gonna I’m going to go back a little bit and kind of give my kind of my brief journey to where I am today. And some of you guys may have heard the story a year or two ago when I left the game. It’s not I’ll give I’ll give a quick background on that. But, you know, I was lucky I was raised in the church. Got to Christian parents that are awesome. I didn’t think that for a lot of years. Now I’ve got she got 1514 year old myself and I let her apologize to my mom once a week for your hair like we did for three years but you know, I was raised in the church, but the reason I went to church in Sunday school and the boring Wednesday night studies that my parents made me do it The house was I had a fear of of going to hell. I wanted to be a believer because I didn’t want to go to hell. And that was it and I mean, I carried this on. I carry this on to college football soon assume realize and you guys can probably relate to that. You know, when I’m when I’m in high school in Fort Scott, Kansas live in a small town hunter myself. In high school, I can’t wait to get out. I cannot stone for a year to the management to go to college. That’s that’s where it’s going to be at. I could just get into college, get out of the house, do my own thing and get to college. A year into that I just want to play pro ball like this. This is my father. I could sign it sign start my career like pro ball. That’s that will bring through, you know peace, happiness. And you guys can see where this is going. You signed you get it now. Okay now we’re in the big leagues I’m in the minor leagues making $400 every couple weeks it was a blast awesome learning experience, but I mean, literally no money and minor league ball so naturally, I get to make it to the big leagues and ended a long term deal. Yeah, this is great. This is you know what I dreamed up since I was a kid. It’s like this isn’t anymore. signed a contract. It’s not good. You know, then years go by and it’s like, man, I just want to retire. Just want to retire. Go home. Go hunt and fish. That’s my life. The one the ranch. It’s come up to places like this. And So, it was, I don’t know, halfway through my mind. Actually, I started noticing that everything on all the goals on setting are a dead end. Because I’m reaching I feel like in my mind I’m going I’m reaching these and I get there and it just it doesn’t satisfy and I thought I get to talk to kids once one like you know we This works in any profession but with with drugs, alcohol, sex, all these things that bring instant satisfaction they all lead to a bit in and I had some awesome mentors. A lot of them teammates, a lot of them shot when my dad was one over the years. And through finally soaking up what they had been telling me for years, I started realizing man, there’s got to be something else out there. And again, reminder, I was raised in the church like I knew all the church stories. I could probably go to a You know, do it do a Bible quiz contest and do pretty well knew very well who Jesus was, and really what he did, but we didn’t have any kind of connection. You know, this is this was all about religion and the do’s and don’ts for me and not going to hell. And man, when I finally handed the keys over, I cannot tell you the freedom that brought and really just remove the blinders to be able to see other stuff that was going on around me. You know, I got to see you know, instead of my own selfish come to the field, which you know, we get to the field about two o’clock or seven o’clock game and doing my thing and kind of locked in when I needed what I needed to do. I started noticing other teammates and other stuff just outside of my world, or my kids are my family or my closest friends. And just Just eyes were open to, to, I guess the fact that it wasn’t all about me. And that you know that there was the, excuse me that there’s a God that cared enough again I was I wasn’t a great kid. But I wouldn’t I wouldn’t even a good kid that cared enough about me and had enough grace to allow me to enter into His presence and ultimately into His kingdom. And when that clicked, don’t get me wrong, my desire to win play based on that, that state still absolutely love what I got to do but but to start investing, you know, in other teammates, and start kind of taking the focus off of just me and getting mine and take it off of you know of self. In a It reminded me and when Ron and I were talking about this study know we started out you might have talked about it a minute ago, but we started one back home. And it this is it’s been the most awesome ministry and I love that you guys are coming to this, we do it, we call it beer and burgers. And we bring guys out and occasionally have a speaker and we’ll do small groups and split up and have some beers and just talk about life. And I say that because for years I was really good at putting the mask on when it was time to go to church. Now we go to church on Sundays and lot of times we do it just because that’s what we’re supposed to do. know everybody in town, I’m in the bible belt. That’s just what you do on Sunday. And it’s really easy to go through the motion and we go there and shake hands and God bless you I’m praying for you know what, you guys know what I mean? I mean, it just it kind of feels like and nothing against the church at all. But it can be fake. Sometimes we can be fake sometimes. And the reason I love these and we call it a life group or life stage because we just come in here And just talk about life. You know, and this is awesome because we don’t have any will have maybe 20 or 30 guys in town but man, I’ve seen more lives changed with guys coming in and just opening up one man to another. That’s one of the hardest things as a man for us that I can’t even do it with my wife, it is hard for me to open up with my wife and tell her what I’m really thinking. I don’t know why that I don’t know if I’m stubborn or scared. She might think I’m weak or soft. I don’t know what it is. But to get into an environment with believers, non believers and everywhere in between, and to be able to open up and talk about, you know, just talk about life with other guys. We’ve seen more guys lives change more marriages saved relationships with their kids. You know, reunited and rejuvenated. So I say that to say, to keep this up, and there’s something about having guys in here and you know, to hold each other accountable, and you know, just to just to keep an eye on each other. As we leave here, as we leave church on Sunday and go through our week, it’s pretty easy to kind of forget about maybe what was talked about, and we can go through it with other men from experience and you know, most of you probably know this, it makes it a lot easier. Because I think a lot of times we do we go to church, and then we go throughout the week and, and go about our life as normal. And so my question is, what are we here for? And I was asked this a few years ago and I kind of dismissed it. I could not get it out of my mind. What are we here for? Was I just here to play baseball and raise a family and retire on a ranch and? And that’s it when we die and then that’s the end of it. No no, I believe we’re here to sum up the Bible. I think it’s, it’s summed up by saying we’re here to love God and love each other. Like to simplify. And I think we’re here to spread the word. I think we’re here to serve and, and spread the gospel. I’m also severely add so if I bounce all over the place, you guys just just bear with me. Because I’m going to back up. I’m going to back up briefly and talk about leaving the game which you guys may have not heard anything about it. I retired I retired two years ago with the White Sox and I and I’m just kind of, I’m not, I don’t need to be the center of attention. I don’t enjoy being in the spotlight. All there, although I was put there throughout my career, and it was fine, but I was kind of hoping I could retire and just go back to the ranch and do it as quietly as possible. For those, those of you that know that was the ultimate backfire. I end up leaving the White Sox, we had a situation where, and I won’t go into too much detail, but we just had a disagreement. And I felt like I was asked to choose between my family and the team. So I got to come in the next day and talk to the club and spend a little time telling those guys that, you know, I choose my family and I got to go home. And it turned into a pretty big deal. But what made that easy, and I’m glad it was later in my career is I don’t know that I could have made that same decision a few years ago. I feel like I had a little better idea of my priorities in life at the time, and that baseball as much as I love playing as much as I love competing, over the years started falling further and further down that list. I’m proud to say that that the Lord and my family started climbing up that list during that time. So I end up walking away, end up walking away from the game. But another big reason and really the reason I’m here tonight, the reason we all connected was this fight against sex trafficking. And I know that’s like, curveball out of right field if you guys hadn’t heard of our involvement at all in that, but anyway, those two things between having to having to choose from, you know, between my family and the team, and then this drafting thing, which a few years ago, actually Couldn’t have told you what the word trafficking meant. God kind of placed a few people in my life over the years, I got to go overseas, do a trip, and really see, you know, firsthand what that looked like. Came back to the states and was totally shocked and disappointed to find out how much it goes on here. And not just in these third world countries, was introduced to deliver phone organization that does some phenomenal work in the counter trafficking world. And then Ryan, and you know, that that’s that’s kind of how this whole thing came together. So that is me moving on from baseball. Just to just to sum that up. And Ryan and I were talking earlier today, and Ryan, you mentioned, you know, religion versus relationship and I started thinking about that. And that’s really something to chew on. Because there is a huge difference between religion and relationships. I would say most of my life, I was more of a religious guy. I think when I finally surrendered and trusted that God could do, do some work without me having to be in the middle of all of it, and calling all the shots, I think, slowly and don’t get me wrong, I’m still a total screw up and rely on his grace daily. When I moved on to understanding what a relationship look like, and guys, it’s not it’s not the do’s and don’ts. Listen, if you’re sitting out there and you’re like, Man, I’m not ready and I’ve got had so many teammates over the years and so many friends now that they’re not ready to ask God into their lives. accept Jesus, because they like their lifestyle. And I’m not ready to quit drinking. I’m not ready to quit, to quit party and to quit smoking to quit cussing to quit cheating, you know, whatever, whatever goes on in our mind that we consider sin or we consider a don’t in religion. I’m here to tell you, you don’t have to stop any of that. None of it. you hand it over. Start this relationship right here. And watch what it does to the rest of your life. You guys that have experienced it, you know exactly what I’m talking about. I’ve experienced it firsthand. That stuff takes care of itself. You know, the closer we get here The better my marriage God. And I’m not I’m not sitting here saying that everything is going to get better. You give your life to Christ as Matter of fact, a lot of times it may get harder. But if it’s this fear of man, I’ve screwed up too much in my life. There’s no way I can walk into that church building there was no way I can walk into this warehouse. There’s no way I can accept know that Bible and accept His promise then I’m I’m telling you, he will accept any one of us. Anywhere we’re at in any situation. And do it with open arms and it’s pretty nice. to not have to go through life by yourself. Whether it’s family member sick family member dies, lost our job. Lost or whatever it is to know that we’re here for a much bigger mission than just us. And to know that when this is over, whether we believe in it or not, we’re all going to have to stand before the king. Right and be accountable for what we did with this very short time he gave us. You know, I’m just thinking back in and to be totally honest with you guys, I don’t know if it’s every year around hunting season because I’m so obsessed with hunting. But I feel like I’m really good at slipping away from this relationship. And I look up at times and I’m like, Man, that’s a really distinct God. Thank you thinking like he’s moved further away from me. And I promise you he’s ready. Here I’m moving further away from you. And one thing if you’re if you’re hesitant or if you’re wondering what that looks like, or if you’re the guy like I was, and still am that goes to church every Sunday. And then Monday afternoon, I couldn’t tell you what they talked about on Sunday and I’m right back in my worldly ways. Being on my own agenda. I will say that if we can get in the habit of doing stuff like this and have other men that we can, we can actually talk to and not just the two cent conversation of who won the games last night. You know what the kids are up to, but I mean, really get deep with other men and open up about life. We will start this will start we’ll start growing there. And for me, that distant relationship starts start shrinking and I just I just can I can see things differently. I enjoy being up in the mountains here in Montana I see his creation differently I don’t know it’s it’s it really is the ultimate freedom and I don’t say this bragging at all because most of you probably don’t have a clue who I am and I love that because I wasn’t even that good at baseball. I just tricked them for long enough to keep a job for a while. But I can say I got to the top of my profession, the top like as a kid that’s what I dreamed of the big leagues. And it ain’t it I thought that was gonna be like the greatest thing that ever happened and it’s not and you guys have that have reached the top of whatever you’re after. I think we’ll say the same thing. I think I read Tom Brady somewhere one is hundred Super Bowl or Something It was like man is that is that was his quote is like resist it. And I feeling it doesn’t matter what we do on on earth because his followers, it’s really in our home. We’re passing through here and our job is to make other disciples read the gospel. A lot of times we can do it without saying a word. Speaking of that, do we have a minute I have no idea if I’ve been here, five minutes or you know. You know, I want to talk about just kids just for a second. I’m assuming bunch of guys have kids and I’ll say when we’re talking about priorities, you know, one thing with, with with my kids and I fell into it so many times I put so much emphasis on whether it’s their whether it’s their grades, what they’re doing around the house. You know anything else outside of their actual the values and morals in their character. And one thing I’ve learned is that if Little Johnny comes home and we’re he gets grounded for a week because he had to be. Then he comes home reback talks his mom, he talks back to his mom or maybe he told a little lie in class or stole something, you know, and he gets sent to his room for an hour. You know, what is that telling them that our priorities because we can tell them whatever we want. We can say this the most important thing in our life, God’s The most important thing in our life. You tell them the truth, you’re not lying. You’re not talking back to your mom. But are you know, are we showing them that? And this is really I listened to a sermon not too long ago. And that’s why this kind of on top of my mind, I was thinking about just my own kids, our priorities, and how that’s portrayed to our kids because I don’t think they’re going to remember a whole lot of what we tell them, but I promise you, they’re going Remember how we made them feel? And what we did? I can’t remember crap that my dad told me nothing. But I remember a lot of incidents, what things I saw him do both good and bad that I’ll never forget. I’ve got kids, I’ve got two high schoolers, My days are numbered and get into really, you know, the opportunity to impact their life. And it’s, it’s, it’s a little bit scary knowing that there’s two or three years left. But also know that the way I act the way I treat other people and what my priorities are truly not just what I’m saying but what they’re seeing is going to have way more impact. You know, than anything I could ever say. I have no idea where I was at or where that came from. was talking about Yes, sir. priorities. Yeah. Talking about just being at the top, and that not that not satisfying. You want to do any any questions or is there any? I’m sure I left out. So you’re the only guy ever read on Wikipedia. We’re actually says you do you actually do have history with ADHD? Right. I mean, it’s it’s been a part of your life. I think I just proved that tonight. So no need to be diagnosed. Yes. It was probably see in 2003. I think I did. I just a bonus Play on the field that’s embarrassing. even tell you guys what happened. I was playing with the Atlanta Braves and Bobby Cox is my manager. If you guys know Bobby he calls me in his office and what the f are you doing LaRoche? I still don’t even think he knows my first name I play with. I played for him for four years. Bobby, I don’t know. He said, Can we get you checked out? Literally the next day he had a rank or psychologist whether that come into the clubhouse and yeah, your medication like a week later. So add been very public about it. Been able to speak a little bit on it. But the beauty is you have a real have a real short term memory too. So those, those over 20 stretches with like 15 punch outs I could forget about real quick. That’s good. Well, I want to ask a couple of questions on and then we’ll open up for q amp a. Tell us about your relationship with your wife during your years in the big leagues? And how do you how did you because I think a lot of these guys they’re not in the big leagues, but they’re in the big league simply by the work schedule they keep and you know, they’re on airplanes all the time or they’re working long hours around here. And and then they’ve got this responsibility to family and your way How did you keep your your love life with your wife, current environment and how do you how did you keep your family together with all the pressures of your career? Yeah, I think the think the divorce rate, I don’t know what the divorce rate in our country as I’m sure it’s crazy. I think in baseball, it’s I think it’s sports. It’s at 80% or 85%. So it’s it’s pretty typical to not have a lasting marriage in pro sports. I I knew that my dad played Matter of fact, my dad played for career. And both of my brothers played pro ball. So all four of us. And I say that because we just we weren’t smart enough to do anything else. I really believe that that was kind of the family thing was baseball or, or baseball. But I got to learn from my parents because my dad had the same schedule traveling all over, in and out. You know, they were together probably half the year a little more than that year and I knew the struggles going in and we just kind of we just kind of said right away that this will always this will always be way more important than baseball. And if it means me having to quit, which ultimately it did, I ended up quitting for my family. I know it’s a it’s a it is a grind. I’ve got an awesome wife. There was plenty of years in there that that it was tough and it would have been really easy to, to even mention the word divorce. And we just refuse to you know, and and, and would fight through those times and grind through it. Like any relationship. And I’m glad we did I wish there was an easy way to answer that question. Different until you Well, it’s work. I mean, it’s just I think you did, you did answer it, it’s work and for that, for those of you that are going through tough times at home, you know, it’s, it’s always work. It’s a challenge and we, we, we stay committed, we work through it, we get out and we grind it out. That it is work and I totally agree with you. You said that you came to a point Were you had to hand over the keys? Yeah. I want to comment on that real quick. If there’s anybody out there struggling with a marriage. It’s actually probably all of us at one time or another. If you’re in the middle of it, I just read just read a book recently from Francis Chan. And it was interesting because he said, I really respect this guy’s pastor out west, California. And in this book, it’s a book on marriage. He’s like, you know what? You’re struggling with your man. Forget the marriage. I think he literally said screw the marriage. It’s your relationship right with the Lord and watch what that does for your marriage. And that just reminded me of that when you mentioned it, because the first thing I want to do when we get into it is point out her flaws. And I’ll do I’ll do it again in a few days when I go home, I’m sure she’ll do it to me. But man that was so true. Is that get get this right here. And then watch what that does to the our other relationships, watch what it does to our relationship with our kids. relationship with our friends. Just read that recently and it definitely rung true. When you when you came to that point where you said you had to hand over the keys to Jesus. Was that kind of a transition? Or was it a moment? And specifically Was there anybody in your life that was influential that really caused you to come to that helped you come to that point where you say, you know, not me anymore, Lord, you’re going to have it all. Was there anybody? These are people that come to mind? In the in it work or privately? Yeah, there is. There’s a lot of teammates. Probably too many to name a lot of guys when I came up that were older than me that were just awesome mentors and great role models. I did I had a chaplain And in DC, that opened my eyes to go to a lot of things that I think were either neglected or I chose not to see, you know, kind of talk about peeling back the layers and taking the mask off and looking into yourself. He was one of the few that would actually challenged me and call me out on if there was something I was saying that, that my actions weren’t backing up. And I really think that was probably so that would have been probably 2010, maybe 2011 that I started viewing this whole relationship with God thing a whole lot differently. Again, instead of seeing it as if I do all these things, I’m in and forgetting that all that it had already been done for me that there was a man that came a couple thousand years ago was killed, buried and rose For all these things that were saying, we shouldn’t have done all these things that we can’t do all the things that we’re supposed to do in order to enter into His presence. That’s I think when the light came on, like, Man, it’s been done. been asking for that much. He’s really not what he is asking for our life, really, our heart, our life. So yeah, yeah. So that’s great lead into the Another question I had you said earlier that, that God allowed you the privilege of getting to know him, and especially his grace. And essentially, I think that’s what you just said that you did. You come to a point where you realize, I it’s not my good works, I can earn this thing. It’s a free gift. And you know where did Where did all those lines cross for you when you really understood the grace of Jesus well I’m still I’m still trying to figure that out daily part of the grind with this with this walk but but talking about grace specifically like I guess I relate it to with my own kids and as much as I love them and that book saying that he loves us however many times more than that I have no problem extended my kids grace right. That’s our that’s our True Father. Like really my dad is just kind of my earthly father I guess he’s gonna put here to raise me and but but our True Father as believers as followers, You know as the Lord and when I see it with my own kids and as bad as they screw up you know no matter what the punishment is or you know there’s always grace right? We’re always going to extend it may take a while when I guess when I could start to view God as man he’s not he’s not standing behind me waiting for me too small to fall down so he could slap me in the back of the head. right he’s more walking beside us and pick us up maybe before we fall right after we fall and your I know it’s tough it’s a grind maybe work sucks maybe are some relationship with a family member is is is bad. You some things happen that that it’s really easy to blame God for he gets all that. I really believe he knows that this life is a great And now I think we can all be really guilty of being so hard on ourselves and checking out, checking on married, checking out that girl on the beach or in that magazine and my golly, I slipped up and dropped an F bomb. And I lied to my buddy over here. I did something and we just can pound on ourselves. Like, I have no business even praying. I got no business open in that Bible. I got no business going to church. Like I’m so deep into this. I knows. Promise you guys he knows. And he’s saying Come on. Come on. I gotcha. So good in it. You know, I mean, it really gets down to what is our perspective of God. Right. Is he there to beat up on us? Or is he there to love us? Is he there too. pushes back and keep us down. Or is he there to make a way for us to walk into eternity with Him? That is a great snapshot you just gave us. Hey, we got some time for Q amp a. And let’s, if you have a question holler it out. We’ll repeat the question and in five or 10 minutes on that and and let them off the hook. Anybody got a question? Okay, Tom. The biggest deer you shot. Very deep question, Tom. Thank you. Man. Last year, I killed a 191 91 My biggest deer with a bow last year at the ranch in Kansas. So appreciate you asking that question. We’ve got some small rednecks in here. I like it. Go ahead. Done with baseball Well, I get to chase elk in September. And I mean that because we I didn’t get to do that for a long time that softened it, man. I haven’t missed it at all. I will say if I would have left five, six years ago, you know, it may have been different a different story. And I was I was I was reading it was awesome. I loved it. To be totally honest, this, this trafficking issue came up. And a lot of things kind of fell into place where I knew I knew that I knew it was time. I really wanted to dive into this more and spend more time in that fight and it’s been confirmed over the last year because I haven’t missed it at all. I missed the guys on occasion you know I missed the flights though to you know, the the camaraderie of being around the guys I can tell you one of my biggest regrets is is not investing in guys lives more. That’s it, I wouldn’t have worked any harder. I wouldn’t have lifted more. I wouldn’t have ran which I never ran anyways, I was first baseman, I wouldn’t have done anything different. Other than during a lot of those years not been so selfish and worried about you know, get mine and maybe pay a little more attention to the guy across the you know, across the globe house that maybe it may have some marriage problems. They have something going on health wise with a family member where you know, you can It becomes real easy in those selfish moments to kind of tune that out. I would I would want to be more aware of that. Yes, sir. Yeah, the question was, you know, Christianity grown in sports. Man. I’m trying to think over the years you know the size of our studies or our chapels? I would like to think it is but I can’t speak for all sports. You know, we got a there’s a pretty big conference we do every every offseason for baseball players and that is definitely grown. Over the years, the offseason, nobody coming into one location and that’s gotten really big and I don’t know. I would say that that’s that’s what our job is though. You know, the ones that are ones that are followers strengthen the kingdom. Yes. My kids you know, I’ve got unbelievable kids, like, I’m they might not even be mine. And it wouldn’t surprise me because I was such an idiot growing up and my kids have been like, it’s gone. It’s gonna happen. It’s probably they’ll be older it’ll be way more expensive on have to pay for all of it it’s gonna suck but they’ve been now they’ve been good Yeah, they got a really good mom yes yeah No, no no I mean there were there was there was so many Converse and I wish I wrote them down. I do. Again that’s where the add on my side there because my memory I know one that made an impact that really impacted my life is one my wife saved my life my professional life. My career was my rookie year and Jeter gets on for doesn’t know I’m nobody comes up, puts his arm around me like Welcome to the league man awesome to have you here. You know, and just in small talk there for three or four minutes it goes a pitching change or something. So that’s one that that impact me honestly a lot of it was about heart. I mean, everybody knew because we’ve got a show called buck commander, if anybody’s ever seen it. We’ve had I think this is our 10th year. My man Mike Miller’s here, my camera guy. And so everybody knew like that. That was my thing. was not as a matter of fact, most people know the reason I played baseball was to fund You know, my hunting season coming up. So a lot of times it was it would be hunting related. Yeah, there was, there was some interesting ones. I just wish I could remember some of the real funny stuff. Well, I coach I hope coach High School ball. My son’s playing. He’s in high school now so I get to do that in the spring. We’ve got we’ve got our ranch we raise, we raise cattle and Southeast Kansas. love being out there trying to spend trying to do some things with my kid that couldn’t do when I was playing. You know, most of our whole summer was work. you’re traveling, we play we play we get roughly one and a half off days a month. So we, you know, basically play every night. I missed a ton of games. I missed a ton of their summer vacation stuff. They were you know, trying to catch up on that. Yes, Absolutely yeah the hundred 90 inch book that I prayed for now retired. Gosh, I’m going to try to I’m gonna try to make this a really quick story. Friend of mine that I hung out with some he was a pastor when I was a kid. He’s in Texas, we literally he was my pastor when I was a child. And we talked maybe once, maybe once a year, maybe once every once a year once every two years. I retired. Nobody knew about it. The media didn’t know about it. Nobody did. Except the guys in the clubhouse. And I had a message from his name was jack Arrington had a message from Shaq. And I was praying the night before. Lord is it time for me to Go home. Is it time for me to go home spend more time with the family get more involved in this fight against human trafficking? So I retire naturally right after that on my crap that I just told that I just really screw this up. And I get a message from jack Hey, I had a crazy dream last night give me a call. Like it was it woke me up know the night in the car, call him. And he said, Man, are you okay? I said, Yeah, I’m great. I just retired. I just I didn’t tell him anything. Well, I had a dream last night that you walked away from the game and but he goes, it’s stupid. But it was so this was in the middle of spring training, by the way, so we’re we’re getting ready to start the season. It’s not like it was in the offseason when guys typically retire. He said it was so real that woke me up. When the kitchen made some coffee. His wife came in like jack What are you doing out of bed? I just had a crazy dream. But Adam, she’s like Adam, who? You know that. I mean, Adam LaRoche was walking away from the game gave me a I think I gave him a big hug and walked out on the field and said, Hey, this is my last game or something like that. So I say that, to say that that was that was a pretty cool little confirmation. You know, from the Lord through a mentor of mine, growing up that it was the right move. Thank you. Hey, so. So what we’re going to do is have six or eight minutes of Table Talk, just just talk about life. And then Adam will come back up, close us out in prayer, and I’ll ask for your help on a couple cleanup things. So just just chew the fat for a little bit talk about life and your career and the ups and downs and, and and over the keys and, you know, understanding God’s grace, whatever it is that’s going on in your life. enjoy each other for a while and will. Thank you for this opportunity tonight and extremities men and here are hopefully with something resonated with all of us. And thanks for all people that helped set this up that funded it make it happen every month. Our hope is to be just a contagious thing that takes off in and around this town with people that don’t typically go to church, for whatever reason, would come here and come have a beer, open up the word just talk about life and talk about you or we’re thankful for, for even having the opportunity at this year a lot of eternity and just give us the constant reminder that everything Everything we do, everything we are belongs to you. We love you. Transcribed by https://otter.ai The post Adam LaRoche shares his story appeared first on Shepherd's Heart Ministries.
35 minutes | Aug 18, 2017
Freedom in Christ
If we are followers of Jesus we are to be sharing the Good News with others. But how do we go about it? Relax and be yourself = free in Christ! Keith Peeler shares with us his story and lifestyle strategy for sharing Christ with others. Recorded live at After Hours Ribs & Brew in Belgrade, Montana. Thank you, Keith! Automated Transcript I just moved here from Dallas, Texas. So this is a little bit different for me than the city of Dallas, Texas. getting settled in and married to my wife, Megan for now, coming up on 13 years, well, just past 13 years. She had a daughter before we were married name hope. And we got married and moved to orange, Texas where it started on stuff. atmosphere. I’m on staff now with him again, I’m here at Spring Hill Presbyterian Church. My title is missionary pastor. And I got to know Sam, because I was the youth director at a great church in orange, Texas called first pres orange. And we started our life there. And so this is a really interesting part of my life, my journey now, God gave us five really incredible years to do life in ministry with each other in orange. And then God called me to Dallas, God called him to Orlando and then he went to Houston and I became a full time missionary was on staff at a large Presbyterian Church in Dallas. Folks that go to that church are world changers, some of the most impacting godly men and women I’ve ever met with the means to change the world. And we’re using their means to do so. And I learned a lot about what it means to think not just about my congregation, not just about my life, but about what God was doing throughout the entire world. And I started getting upset passion for what God was doing all over the world. Just as a way of helping me kind of get to know you a little bit. I don’t want to call anybody out. But would you raise your hand if you are connected to a local church here somewhere in Bozeman? Okay, great. That helps me know kind of who you are, and lets you know a little bit more about who I am. As I’m sharing that. I’ve been involved in church my entire life. Some of you might be new, some of you might be in the exact same spot that I’m in church, or just some we did. It was just normal. I grew up in the south man. Everybody goes to church, right, there was a Christian. And, and it was a part of my journey. Being in the church going to church right now. I remember the days of like Sunday school and the perfect attendance award was something to be achieved. And grew up, you know, going to a Methodist Church and in junior high, got interested in one thing, girls, and they were cute ones at the youth group. So guess where I was on Sunday night, the youth group. And and in that process, I experienced I don’t know what your experience has been. But I experience not a lot of real life. experience a lot of programs. I went to a lot of events, saw a lot of concerts, a lot of fun shaving cream wars all over the place with kids and eating banana splits, there were 60 feet long. But I grew up in a place where where the picture of leadership was kind of the perfect Christian role model. And I grew up in a ministry where it was a great program back in the 80s. I mean, it was program program program. And it was the largest Methodist Church and State Louisiana I love this church. I don’t want to dishonor the church in any way. But I personally struggle. I struggle with what it meant to be a young man. I struggle with pornography a lot. I struggle with this Jesus that seemed to be like rainbows and unicorns and everything nice. But But I had problems that didn’t seem to match up to the promises of Scripture, at least as I as I read them. I didn’t really see any transformation. In my own life. I just heard stories. And I just felt bad that I wasn’t living up to it. I really kind of grew up in a culture and not primarily in my church per se, but the people around me in the city that I lived in. And I felt that this deal being a Christian was more like a list of rules, some do’s and don’ts, and you better do this and you better not do that. And if you’re not there on Sunday, you must be going to hell. Because matters. You just gotta be there. As long as you show up. You want that sticker. You want to make sure that God is smiling down on you because your buddies in the chair, you don’t have to listen, you don’t have to change anything. You certainly don’t have to be transformed anything, you just gotta be there. And something in that over my life as a young man didn’t add up. Something wasn’t making sense. And I started reading scripture on my own and I was challenged a part of my journey. I shared a piece of this if you were here. Last month, I kind of shared a bit of my kind of heart as I kind of came here for the first time. And a big part of my journey was that I was just a little bit on the outside of what my Christians thought my Christian friends thought was okay. Can you hear me? Yes, he comes to Bible study. But you know, don’t let him get your sister. You like he’s he’s just a little bit out there. Yeah, he’s, I guess he probably Yes, Jesus. But he’s, he’s not really a disciple. I don’t see any real change in his life. So I lived in this really this weird world. Where where my heart knew that Jesus was who He said He was. I don’t know how I knew that I got challenged in my faith journey along the way. And I had a couple of important, like, moments where I kind of had to come to terms with is this Jesus guy really who He says He is, you know, CS Lewis says he’s either was, how’s it going until the space now he’s either a liar, a lunatic, or he’s Lord. And I thought about that, it’s got to be true. Jesus was either a liar, a total lunatic, or he’s the Lord. And somewhere in that journey of my own personal life, where where I was being confronted by all of the realities of my hormones, all the realities of like, life that wasn’t like, I’m going had a great family. It’s not like I was living on the streets, but like, I had real problems. There were things that were going on in my life that that rainbow Jesus and unicorn puppies weren’t answering. And fun youth groups were awesome. But not really getting to the heart of what like, I thought I saw in the scriptures. And so as I was challenging those things, I started realizing that that I was either going to take this stuff seriously or not. It’s kind of put up or shut up moment along the way. And I started thinking about for my own wife, like, what would it really mean to like, actually get to know Jesus not read about him, or just show up on Sunday to make sure that dad were happy in the youth ministry was happy. And you know, it’s kind of funny, honestly, because you’re a little sidebar here. But But as I grew up, and I came out of high school and college, I actually became a youth minister at the church that I serve, when I grew up in. And one of the things I learned very quickly as a youth minister was that you were a prime invitation for dinner. And as a young single, and that was a good thing. But I realized why. Because the parents of the kids in the youth group wanted to make sure that their kids knew the youth minister and the youth minister knew their kids, they either want a special treatment, or they want to make sure that I do my job so that they’d stay safe. And I saw time and time again, they didn’t want to have to do their job in the spiritual leadership of their children. They just want to make sure that the youth group guy would make sure that they were staying safe instana trouble. And I used to this is a little bit about my personality, you get a little bit older, stay a little bit about me, as I say this story. So I used to kinda like to mess with the parents. And so what would happen is they invite me over for dinner, right? And because I’m the youth pastor, I’m the guy who knows how to pray. I’ve got the job. They will, or Keith, would you mind praying for a dinner? I can’t. And their faces would drop by sigma. I’m off the clock. And if I do, I have to charge a church time and a half. And I’m kidding, I’m kidding. I’m kidding. Of course, I’ll pray. But it was always this, like I there’s been this part of me, that’s always needed to kind of push a little bit. Because what I was experiencing wasn’t real. It wasn’t a real transformation in Jesus, it was this game I was playing. It was a thing. And the thing didn’t add up, frankly. Because attendance didn’t get me anywhere with my heart. A tendency gave me anywhere with my life, how I thought of myself, who I knew myself to be. And so I just kind of said, You know what, I’ve just got to I’ve just, I’m either in or out. And I found some friends in college. And they thought I was too wild too. But but in all of that they were Pharisees and I was who knows what, probably the woman at the well, at that point. Just live in a life that was way outside. But But I love Jesus. And over the years, what started coming together were people that actually spent time with me. It wasn’t in the youth group. Frankly, it wasn’t on Sunday morning. And it wasn’t like the Bible studies where I found actual transformation. Those are all good things. I don’t want to minimize those things. Don’t misunderstand me. But when I started realizing was that my own personal transformation was coming, when I was actually honest with myself and honest with other people in my life, about my struggles about whether this Jesus was real or not. And so that’s my passion. Now, the majority of you raise your hand, when I asked the question, are you connected to a church. And one of the things I’ve come to understand I spent seven years as a, as a on the streets, missionary in inner city, East Dallas, and the people there could carry less whether or not you go to church. In fact, if you let them know that it’s a lot of four letter words and hand gestures, telling you, you’re number one. And I spent a lot of time living life amongst non Christians, not trying to convert them. But actually just trying to get to know them. Because my church experiences told me and taught me that if I knocked on enough doors, and shared this gospel message enough times, people were going to get worn down by the message actually say yes to it. I never actually was challenged to actually decide whether or not I would live life. Amongst non Christian See, I had this crisis of conscience about 15 years ago, sorry, eight years ago, I was on staff at a fantastic church, evangelical, serving in missions all over the world, doing kingdom, building, life transforming things. And guess what all my friends were not just Christians, with staff members. The only people I knew how to relate to were staff members of the church. And yet I was being asked to share a gospel message with a broken world. I didn’t know the broken world. How can I share the gospel message with people I don’t even know. And so got written me out of a very good job in a very good neighborhood, and planted us in an amazing neighborhood where following Jesus was not the priority. And out of that time, what we saw was not necessarily conversion, but we saw lots of transformation. in me, and in my neighbors, I really struggled because as a Christian, as we would do different things, there were scorecards that I had to, you know, sign up for the scorecards were this, if you did an event, how many people got saved? If you didn’t event, how many people came. And so all of a sudden, for years, I just had this, I just got to get people there. If I just get the people there, surely something will stick. And the truth is most of the church experience I had was simply, hey, we’re going to do an outreach, we’re going to invite all of our neighbors to church. That’s a good thing, right? It’s a good thing. But what I realized, even in a city, Dallas is the belt buckle of the Bible Belt. Okay, we have that title. And even in a city like Dallas that has some of the biggest seminaries, and some of the biggest churches, and some of the biggest parish church ministries around, I’d say you are hard pressed to see 25% of our city actually attending, or just connecting with Jesus at all. So in a city of a 1.2 million people 75% of that was never, ever going to come to church. And God hit me with that, and I couldn’t ignore it anymore. He started messing with my head. Because I started having to ask the question, if I grew up in a system that didn’t even make sense to me, was good. And ultimately, over time actually shepherded my heart quite well. But But I did have this crisis of conscious in that system. I can’t deny that. As good as those churches were, I still had that struggle. And I still chose to stay. And because of that, because the transformation in men, women investing my life, I actually met Jesus, realize just how powerful he is and who he is, and how he could actually transform me and heal me and set me free. And when I got that message, and when I started living it, I started being so convicted by the power of God to say, if this is freedom, if this is real, how can I stand not to share this with the broken and hurting world. Problems I just didn’t know. I didn’t know. And over the last seven years, we’ve been experimenting with ways to just love people where they are, and to actually not invite them to church. I don’t invite people to church anymore. What I invite people into is a transforming relationship with Jesus Christ. And I work for Spring Hill. But the truth is, I don’t care if they come, they’re not. I don’t care if they go to your church, I don’t care if they start their own church in their basement. What I care about is the actual nature of freedom, there’s a tool that I’m going to give you and you may have heard this before my keep one up here, I’m gonna ask you guys to kind of send this out and pass it out around, I believe there’s enough for everybody to grab one. So if you’ll just do that and send it around as a as a part of the missions agency that I’ve been a part of, for the last seven years. And I’m I’m full time staff here at Spring Hill. And my life and calling is based here. But I’m also now part time on staff with CRM to maintain a lot of the relationships and ministry that we’ve developed over the last seven years so that that CRM, with its global impact is also connecting here in Bozeman with Spring Hill, and we’ll be doing some training events at Spring Hill, in partnership with CRM over the next few years as we as we do this. But there’s a model of Bible study that I’ve been given. That is the simplest Bible study in the absolute world, I believe you and Sam, when he spoke, did a little bit of this a few months ago, and shared but here’s why I want to share this with you. And here’s why I think it’s so important. We are here tonight. And some of us here tonight may not actually want to go to church on Sundays and may not go. But we’ll come here because it’s a little more comfortable. And it’s a platform that we can actually use joy and and we can we can be a little more honest out here, can we I mean, we’re not in the church is free, it’s free year, it’s an opportunity. And this ministry is an incredible place for you to bring your non Christian friends or other Christian friends alike as an on ramps of faith, right? It’s a great place, my church is also a great place. But the reality is the majority of the city is not going to come here for rips. The majority do the majority. Now a lot will we need to invite those guys and get them here and and build them up. That’s what this ministry is about. We want to support that I do support it. But we have to be honest with ourselves, the majority of this city will not come here. And they want to come to Spring Hill, or journey or EV free or any other church in this town that I haven’t yet learned about. They’re just not going to come. So the question we have to ask you the truth is if you look at the raw numbers of the United States population, we can’t, it’s mathematically impossible to raise enough money and started enough churches to fulfill the Great Commission in this United States. mathematically impossible. Average church, church plant takes a million and a half dollars to reach 100 people. Average, most church plants fail. So we have to think something different. If we’re going to be free, if we are transformed by the Gospel, Jesus really is who He says He is. And if you’ve been transformed by that message, then you and I share the equal burden, the equal joy, the equal opportunity to actually see life begin in people who are dead. I want to see people raised from the dead. I want to see people healed. I want to see brokenness shattered by the love and the power and the anointing of Jesus. And, and the way that we’re trying do that working that out is sharing the simple discovery Bible study tool that anyone can lead. I trained 14 second graders to do that. So I know, you guys are in good shape. You can handle it. All right, unless you have too many beers. That’s a whole different story. So here’s what we’re going to look at one, I want to read this verse, I want to let sit, we’re going to walk through these questions a little bit at our table. But mostly, as I lead us through this, let’s just let’s just look at this together. I’ll read this out loud, you can follow along since you got it there in front of you. Here’s what it says Second Corinthians 312 through 18. Since we have such hope, we are very bold, not like Moses, who would put a veil over his face so that the Israelites might not gaze at the outcome of what was being brought to an end. But their minds were hardened. For To this day, when they read the Old Covenant, that same veil remains and lifted, because only through Christ is it taken away. Yes, to this day, whenever Moses is read, avail lies over their hearts. But when one turns to the Lord, the veil is removed. And now the Lord is the Spirit. And where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. And we all with unveiled faces, beholding the glory of the Lord are being transformed into the same image, from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord, who is the spirit Where the Spirit of the Lord is there is freedom. There is freedom. There is freedom. And sometimes wonder whether we’re actually walking in freedom or not. if we’re honest with ourselves, we can become overburdened with taxes, marital problems, sick children, spouses, parents, financial issues, job issues, I just moved here from Dallas, I got a lot of problems. I’m struggling. It’s hard. We’ve uprooted everything to be here. It’s not easy. I don’t need a pity party. I’m just being honest. So the reality is when when we say that we walk in freedom, it’s not that we just hold on to that. And and it’s not the Pollyanna answer. It is am I really going to allow this freedom to be freedom or not. And I’m walking in freedom, guess what happens? Other people want to know about it. So when I, when we first moved into Dallas, I did not announce that I was a pastor or a missionary or anything like that. In fact, I wanted to run from that title as far as I could. In fact, it’s a little bit odd now that I’m being called pastor Keith. Because for seven years as people introduce themselves to me, they go, because in Dallas, just like here, well, what do you do for a living? I’d say, Well, I’m a photographer, and I do some other stuff. Because I knew that if I categorize myself with my title, they would automatically put me in a place of not letting me into their lives if they did not know Jesus. Now, if you love Jesus, you’d give me a hug. But everybody else, and those are the people that I really wanted to spend my time with. And ultimately what happened one of our neighbors, at six months of just living our life, just walks across the street, looks at my wife and says, Who you guys really she saw something different. We didn’t tell her about Jesus until she asked. She was a person of peace, God had prompted her heart to be ready. And my wife Cindy said, you know, actually, you’re right. You know, we I am a speech therapist, my husband is a photographer. But we’re also full time missionaries. And Morgan, we’ve been so transformed by the power of Jesus, that we want to live our lives in such a way that everyone has a chance to know him. And we want you to know him. But you need to know right now, if you never know him the way we do that we still love you. We care about you, you’re our friend. But that’s who we are. That’s what we’re about. She does that make sense. And she just left. Six months later, she had a powerful encounter with the Lord alone, because of a story that my wife had shared with her about something that happened to my daughter. And guess what Jesus showed up. And that’s what Jesus actually shows up. And so in the midst of this, as we read that this is freedom, I want to give you this tool, what you have in your hands is the simplest, easiest, most multiple Bible Bible study you could ever have. And you can give it away all day long. And we give this to non Christians. And we don’t join them. We don’t ask them to come to our groups, we give it to that we meet them where they are. We go to the people that are hurting, and we bring the gospel with us. We don’t ask them to leave their city, we don’t ask them to leave their home, we don’t ask them to leave what they’re comfortable with, to be able to be comfortable. I’m uncomfortable at church. I understand the words, I understand the songs, I know the rhythm, I know we’re gonna sing to here, we’re gonna stand up there, we’ll sit down here, we’ll do some of this, and we’re going to get out. And I’m comfortable with that. But for my non Christian friends there, it’s totally foreign. and inviting them into that is such a huge hurdle, that they won’t come and do it because they’re the insecure ones. Why? Because they’re leaving what they know, to be a part of what we know. Does that sound fair? Does that sound like what Jesus did? So this tool is as easy as what you see. So here’s what we do. Here’s what we do. We train people, we train you, we train people just like you, in your churches, to go outside of your church just to meet that person of peace. Luke 10 talks about the person of peace. Jesus said, the disciples out said, Look, wherever they welcome you give them your blessing and stay with them. They were people of peace, they were ready to receive, they were hungry. They were spiritually open. They were people that had influence in their town, and the disciples stayed with them, and they shared the message with them. And then it multiplied because what they did is they went to their friends, and share what they had learned. Instead of saying, hey, come over here, they took what they had learned they would they went to their friends. So here’s how this works. If we want this city to be free, if you want to be free, if you have friends that can do this with you to learn about Jesus on your own. Whenever you come to this Bible study, come here, come to your churches, Bible studies, do all those things. But you can also do this at work over lunch in 15 to 20 minutes. No excuses. doesn’t take that much time. Here’s how we do it. You read the passage, you got it right there on your piece of paper. And you can answer any passage, I’ve got list of passages, if you wanted to try something different. You read the passage and you repeat it in your own words, it’s a form of learning. When you can say a passage back in your own words, you’re taking it in, and you’re understanding what it means. So you share that in your group of one, two or three people. Then you ask this question number two, what could this passage mean? So you let people in their own environment begin to explore the Scriptures for themselves. And here’s why. I don’t want to be in the room. Let me ask you this question. How many you guys have been to a Sunday school class? Okay, how many of you into Sunday school class with a really smart teacher? And how many of you felt very, really super comfortable answering questions when that really smart teacher asked the question. Two of you, maybe three, he went to Oxford, that doesn’t count. So if we, as people who are familiar with church are afraid to answer questions, when we know the teachers really good, how much more than with people that don’t know Jesus, how much more they be intimidated if a guy like me was in the room. So when I need a personal piece at a bar, or restaurant, or the guy that’s fixing my car, the girl that’s helped me out here in there, if I sense that their personal piece, I did this in a cab ride home from the airport one time, what do you do for a living? And I just said, The Lord told me Be bold. So I was bold. As I work with people, I’m a spiritual coach. That’s it. What’s a spiritual coach do? So I help people discover God? What do you mean? So there’s a lot of people in the city of Dallas that won’t go to church, but they’re curious about who got his he was? Oh, you mean like me? Hello, right there in the car? What? I have to do nothing but pay attention. So what I did is I said, here’s what you do. Get your you have anybody else that wants to learn this with you? Yeah, man, my, my brother’s been trying to figure this crap out for years. Well, great. Get your brother in the room. And I’ll hand you this tool, and I’ll show you how to use it. You guys do it on your own? You’re not gonna tell us what to believe? No. That’s new. I really appreciate their bed time with leave all the time. I don’t like those guys. I don’t either. So they asked the question, what could this mean? And because they don’t know anything they can explore together? Then you say this question. What does this passage tell you about God? What could you learn about God’s nature, because of what this passage just said? And then they go around the answer that question, what does this teach you about humanity? What does this teach you about what it means to be a man or what it means to be a woman? Where do you see that in that scripture? And then we ask this question, if if we’re not presuming that this is the truth, because the people we’re talking about don’t think that this is the truth. So we say if, if this is God speaking, how could that change your life? Or how would that change your life? If this was really true, if we’re the Spirit of the Lord, is there was actual freedom? What would that actually mean for your life? And then, question number six, hey, who outside of this group that’s being here tonight? Who would benefit from hearing what we just learned, you know, somebody in your life that might benefit from the conversation we had tonight? And then they asked the question, yeah. Uncle Steve, my. How can you share it with them? I tell you what, let’s all meet next week number number eight, figure out a time to meet again, you Hey, guys, was this helpful? This is kind of cool. You want to meet again? Yeah, let’s do it next week. Or Listen, you said you can tell Steve, Steve about what we talked about. I’ll write that down. And next week, I’m gonna find out if you talk to Steve or not. And then they come back the next week, and you haven’t had to go to get chance talking on the stage. Now, okay, well, how can I help you do that? These are non Christians. Engaging the word and typically what happens we start talking about this is people getting their keys. What about heresy? These people don’t think about the Bible. They’re gonna have some crazy stuff. Well, probably, because guess what, we talk about some crazy stuff in my Bible studies, because we’re still growing and learning. And so here’s what we do, what we encourage them to do is say, look, here’s the deal. The only thing that we asked you to do in this study, is that you can’t discuss anything unless it’s written in black and white right there. Well, you know, I read this other Bible verse with a Hey, Kyle, that’s awesome that you read that. But for the sake of our Bible study here tonight, we’re only we’re only going to read this one. We don’t want to confuse anybody with other Bible verses yet, because we don’t know anything yet. So we’re just gonna stick with this and if that’s okay, because that’s the rule for our Bible say, okay, right. And then when you ask them this question, well, what could this mean, they could come up with some hair rain. So here’s what you did. You know, that’s interesting. Steve, you said, but up? Where did you find that in the scripture? Well, I guess we’ll guess it’s not really there is? No, no, let’s, let’s just focus on what’s actually here. If we’re going to focus on trying to figure this thing out together, we need to focus on just this, okay? And that’s the failsafe for keeping things biblically oriented. In the beginning was the Word and the Word was God, the Word was with God. The word is enough. And what we’re talking about are not people that are ready to be pastors, we’re talking about people who have so minimal understanding of anything spiritual, much less the right theology, I don’t care about their right theology, yet. They’re not even saying yes to Jesus yet. There’s time for that when the time comes. But this format can give be given to anyone and as and just bring it back to the simple questions means you can go home tonight and do this with your kids. Do with your wife, you anyone, anytime. And so if the Spirit of the Lord brings freedom, if God has moved in you in free to have you been set free of Jesus is your Lord. If you’re still wondering to asking questions, hey, I’d love to talk to you about that too. But if you’re not if you if you are a follower of GOD, if you’re a believer, if this question that I had to come to my own decision about, easy a liar is a lunatic or is the Lord if you’ve gotten to that Lord situation, and you’ve been set free, and this is an incredible tool for you to find those people of peace in your life. And you can connect them with the scriptures in a very simple way. Where the Spirit of the Lord is this freedom, I want freedom. I want more for me. My wife, I love her. She’s with us prayer ministry, and people get set free from all kinds of crazy stuff, Noah, and the things she says all the time. There’s always more, always more. So I don’t care how free how broken you are. I’m here to tell you that there is always more. And if you think you’ve gotten to the fullness of Christ in your life, yet, I want to lovingly challenge you say no, because there’s always more our father draws us into His presence, step by step in the midst of our failures, and successes, and he can wreck them all with the blink of an eye and yet loves us so much. That he would set us free in spite of our sin. In spite of our failures, and our pride in our anger, and our stuff in our pornography. He can say you don’t need anymore and walk us out the room. This this is the Jesus of Nazareth. Amen. Transcribed by https://otter.ai The post Freedom in Christ appeared first on Shepherd's Heart Ministries.
25 minutes | Jul 21, 2017
Christianity vs. Other Religious Beliefs
What makes Christianity unique from other religious beliefs? How can we trust its claims about God? What impact should it have on my life? Daniel Hartzheim, co-director of SHM explores answers to these questions at the monthly After Hours Ribs & Brew event. For further exploration of how Christianity is unique from other religious beliefs, watch the videos in our sidebar and footer titled, “Tough Questions.” You may also see these and additional resources at Christianity Explored. PDF Handout: Distinctives of Christianity.pdf (referenced in the video) Automated Transcript Welcome to another resource for living life with wisdom, purpose and faith. Brought to you by shepherds heart ministries. Shepherd’s heart is a 501 c three evangelical nonprofit located in Bozeman, Montana. Join us for one of our many events in the Gallatin Valley as we seek the lost, strengthen the pound, and together shine more brightly for Jesus. And now on to today’s resource. So tonight, in light of what Keith shared, we’re going to talk a lot about rules. And just kidding. No, actually, I hope what I share should like line up with what he talks about. We we have, you might be one of them. We have people who come to these gatherings who’ve never opened a Bible in their life. They haven’t lived around. The church you’ve been in and been a part of it. And and then we have lots of people who come who are on some spectrum of Christianity. Maybe you’re someone who’s following Christ with everything that you are. And others are just kind of one foot in one foot out, which is normal in a size group like this, that we have a broad spectrum of people and where they’re at in faith. But something that has interested me ever since I went to college, are some of the questions or criticisms or doubts against Christianity and the God of the Bible. And so learning about what what is what is it that’s distinctive about Christianity from other religions? Because at least we could give the give credit to people of other religions to Be, at least they’re trying to get in touch with a creator or with the spirit realm. They’re recognizing that I’m more than just this flesh and my consciousness consciousness. There’s something out there. I don’t know if you guys have noticed if you’re whether it’s Netflix or YouTube or Amazon Prime or Hulu, whatever, wherever it is, you get video content. How the last five years the last 10 years, the skyrocketing the astronomical amount of content that involves paranormal activity. People who are ghost hunters, we literally have people someone at least one person in Bozeman who will take you on ghost tours. Looking for ghost and then these videos documentaries about you know, they’ll take a microphone, they’ll go to the place where they they’re expecting paranormal activity, and they’ll record it on film and audio. And then they go back and watch it. And it’s just freaky. The the sounds that that the microphones pick up that their ears don’t pick up when they’re there. But all of that to say, the last 10 years, the last 20 years, there’s been a real, a real rise in people who are identifying that there’s more to life than just my my mind and my body. There’s something else out there. I don’t know if it’s demons, I don’t know if they’re angels. I don’t know if they’re ghosts, or if they’re all the same mixed up. But there’s a lot of searching. One of those movements is the New Age movement. And just the thing that I credit people for in all of those areas is I agree with you, there’s more than just our mind and our body. There’s a spiritual realm, and we ought to explore that as much as we explore it. The physical realm. But what but what makes what makes Christianity different from other religions? What makes it similar? And what makes it something that we can trust? how might it impact our life in a positive way that maybe these other religions don’t offer? So we’re going to look at that today. Every every religion, I would say in it, and even a worldview that doesn’t have room for a creator, has these components, an explanation for the universe, how did we get here? We recognize a deep problem within humanity, that something’s not right. People are willing to kill each other. We’re willing to steal from each other. We’re willing to take on lifestyles that are self harming. Whether that’s addictions or other things. From the time anyone who’s had a kid, or at least watched a young child from the time they’re born, they’re selfish. It’s you could say survival of the fittest. But one thing’s for sure they’re they want the toy more than they want to share it with the the other little kid next to him. So there’s a deep problem within humanity. And finally, every worldview, and religion offers a solution to rise above the problem. Human beings, were certainly geared towards problem solving. And if something’s not right, we want to fix it. But that’s even that right there in and of itself, if you recognize something’s wrong, and you want to fix it, especially on a macro worldview, then you’ve just identified something core to the human race, which is, we recognize something’s wrong and it should be right So, there’s there are arguments like that philosophical arguments that start to at least bring out the plausibility that there’s an intelligent designer, a creator, who has embedded within us. We have someone at our table tonight, who’s a programmer, and the idea of programming things and embedding things to work the way you want it. And it would seem that in every civilization and every religion, there’s always been the idea of right and wrong, and morality. So, these things point to an intelligent designer, a creator who embedded morality across humans for all time. When I was in college, Oh, goodness, didn’t play it. When I was in college. I dated a girl briefly, who raised a question to me about about Christianity, She challenged my faith even though she was a Christian. But she had her doubts. And she said, Well, have you heard the story? Like, how do you know that your way that your religion is the right way? You know, isn’t it arrogant to say that there’s only one way to God? And how could you know you’re such a finite human being on the planet? You know, have you experienced every religion and tried them all? How would you know what’s different? And in fact, she shared this metaphor. That’s an old metaphor. It’s been around for a couple hundred years, at least, about some blind men and an elephant. And it’s a metaphor for people who claim to know about God. So I’m going to play this video that tells the story. The blind men and the elephant by john de sacs. was six men of understand, to learning much inclined, who went to see the elephant. All of them were blind, that each by observation might satisfy his mind. The first approach the elephant, and happening to fall against is broad and stood beside that words began to more. God bless me but the elephant is very like a wall. The second feeling of the Tusk cried Oh, what are we here? So very rounded, smooth and sharp. To me it is very clear that this wonder of an elephant is very like a spear. The third approach the animal and happening to take the squirming trunk within his hands does boldly RP speak. I sequel he the elephant is very like a snake before reached out his eager hand and felt about the knee. But most this wondrous beast is like his very plan because he just clear it. The elephant is very like a tree. The fifth who chance to touch the ear said in the blind this man can tell what this resembles most denied the fact who can. This marvel of an elephant is very like a fan of six No sooner had begun about the beast to grow up. Then seizing on the swinging tail that fell within his scope, I see equals he the elephant is very like a rope. And so these men have understand, disputed loud and long, each in his own opinion exceeding stiff and strong, though each was partly in the right, and all were in the wrong Morrow, so often theological was the dispute and so we rail on in utter ignorance of what each other mean and pray about an elephant Not one of them seen this girl, this girl that I dated briefly in college raised this parable. And it really challenged me at the time and I didn’t know what to respond. Like, that’s a good point. How could any relate one religion have it? All right? We haven’t all got a full view. We’re all finite beings. And we’re talking about an infinite being, how could we have it right? So the thing that I’ve learned in the, in more recent years, which turns this metaphor and this kind of parable, this riddle on its head is in Christianity. You have someone who comes and doesn’t tell you about God and how to get to God. In fact, he says, I am God. I am the elephant. And so it puts Christianity in a different capital. Gauri, really then all the other major religions of the world, all the other other religions bring you a sage or a prophet. As Tim Keller points out here, grab this off of my sheet. The other religions bring you a prophet, or they bring you a sage and they say, this is the way to find God. So in that sense, they’re all the same. But Christianity comes along and says, This person is God, and He was raised from the dead to prove it. And that is just a different category. And you have to come to grips with that to be a Christian. And also it does force you in a way to grapple with it. Instead of saying, I like this rich religion because it meets my needs, or I like these thoughts. You have to say, Did it happen or not? As as other Christian theologians have said, either, either Jesus was totally crazy like psychotic and claim Things that only a psychopath would claim. Or he was incredibly deceitful, intentionally deceiving the crowds. Or he was actually who He said He was, and, and and did the things he did. Part of part of what therefore becomes impressive about Christianity is if you have your main character of Christianity, Jesus, claiming to be God, and as you read through the Bible, and he does things that equate with God, such as walking on water, raising people from the dead, speaking to us, a crazy raging storm, that veteran fishermen thought they were going to die. He speaks to it and it goes silent. It calms down. healing people, every sort of thing you could imagine. Multiplying food. if, if, if this really happened, it either really happened, or his followers became incredibly divisive deceivers to the world. But they had his followers. after his resurrection and ascension into heaven, his followers had a incredibly huge disincentive to try to spread a lie. So you’d have to think what would what would be in it for his followers to spread a lie if his whole thing was false. They, they, they were persecuted and killed. For the things that they said about Jesus. They would on their own expense, they would traverse the Roman Empire and tell other cities city after city, about the message of Jesus, who’s going to go out Do that for a lie. These these guys were literally in the Scriptures, you read about it, they lost property. So it’d be like if Christianity was outlawed in America and they said, If you profess that if you spread that message will take your property. If that doesn’t stop you, you know will will flog you and have you beaten one whip short of death? If that doesn’t work will take your family members from you. And if that doesn’t work will kill you. Do you think of the incredible persecution against the followers of Jesus? And the only logical conclusion there is that these guys really saw Jesus do the things that only God can do? And they really saw him be raised from death to life after he had been crucified after he had been killed. So that’s the first very big distinctive about Christianity from other religions is that Here we have someone saying, I am God, I’m the son of God, I’m one with God. before time began, I was, I’ve always been and always will be. And then does the things that we just talked about the types of miracles and signs and wonders to back it up, including himself being raised from the dead. The second distinctive about Christianity is that it’s in many ways, it’s actually the most pessimistic worldview about humanity than the other religions. The other religions, you know, will say we need to be good people we need to, you need to meditate and clear your mind and reach a state of Nirvana or you need to be an extremely good person to break the cycle of reincarnation. You’ve got to be so good to come out of that cycle, and not Continue to experience pain and suffering in this world, or you have to live a morally upright life as good as you possibly can, and hope that you never fail. And then hopefully, that’ll be enough to get into heaven with God or hopefully that’ll be enough that you can become a god yourself. They actually are a little bit more optimistic than Christianity in this case, because Christianity says no matter how hard you try to appease God or to make peace with God and approach God on your terms, or his terms, your good deeds, your good works, your good efforts and intentions are but filthy rags to God. The second reason why it’s more dire for Christian the Christian worldview on humanity is even more dire than the other religions is that it says we’re actually spiritually dead. In Genesis, the first first chapter, the second chapter, second chapter, the Lord God warned him being Adam. You may freely eat the fruit of every tree in the garden, except the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. If you eat its fruit, you are sure to die. And of course they did. So they became spiritually dead. And then this is from the New Testament, the book of diffusion says, once you are dead because of your disobedience and your many sins and sin is taken to be cosmic treason, treason. Anytime we do something that’s against God’s will and design for the world. That’s a sin. You used to live in sin, just like the rest Of The World obeying the devil, the commander of the powers in the unseen world, he is the spirit at work in the hearts of those who refuse to obey God. All of us used to live that way, following the passionate desires and inclinations of our sinful nature. By our very nature, we were subject to God’s anger, just like everyone else. So again, we’re spiritually dead. So even if even if we were to try to approach God with a with an upright lifestyle, a righteous lifestyle, living, what we would say, or what a cult any culture would say is the right way to live or just trying to be a good person is still won’t get you to heaven and Christianity, because your righteousness is as filthy rags to God and you’re spiritually dead to begin with. God is spirit. You can’t connect to God’s Spirit if your spirits dead. So here’s a quote from a Greek Greek guy on these topics Ravi Zacharias. He says the Christian faith Simply stated, reminds us that our fundamental problem is not moral. Rather, our fundamental problem is spiritual. It is not just that we are immoral, but that immoral life alone cannot bridge what separates us from God. Herein lies the cardinal difference between the moralizing religions, and Jesus is offered to us. Jesus does not offer to make bad people good, but to make dead people alive. So that’s, that’s the incredibly pessimistic worldview on humanity that Christianity carries. But here’s where it starts to get incredibly good and incredibly optimistic. If you’ve been around church at all, and the Bible at all, you’ve heard the term the gospel of Jesus. This are the good news of Jesus. And you can’t understand the good news unless you understand the bad news that I just talked to you about. We’re spiritually dead and anything we try to do is never good enough. So here’s where it gets incredibly good. Jesus who we already talked about here is God, He is the elephant. Jesus comes in the flesh and pays the price for humanity’s moral debts. He pays the price when he dies on that cross. God accepts Jesus His perfect righteousness by raising him from the dead. That was the sign that God said, I accept this as payment for humanity’s moral debt. And finally, here salvation is not based on our righteousness, our works, our efforts, our deeds, but it’s based on the finished work that Christ did with his life, his death, his resurrection. If you’ve read those passages before, everyone would be anyone who has would be familiar when Jesus says it is finished. And he breathed his last breath and dies. Why would he say it is finished? It’s because it’s finished. There’s no other work needed to make atonement for humanity to bring peace between God and man, not your efforts or mine. So this is a huge distinctive from the other religions that would say, you’ve got to work your tail off to be a good person. And and then Then and only then can you even hope that God will still have mercy on you. So finally, it leaves us with the question if if this is true if if Jesus is God, if he actually did the things the Bible says he did, if he was raised from the dead and that’s why his followers So vigorously spread the Good News across the planet. What does this mean for my life? How How do I respond to God’s gracious gift of eternal life? And here’s what the Scriptures say. And a lot of these scriptures are on your your page there on the on the last page, but the summary of it all is this, believe and receive that God gives you the opportunity for eternal life. He gives this as a gift to you. All you have to do is believe that Jesus is the Son of God, who died for the sins of the world, including yours and mine. Then the Bible says that we are to get baptized and follow Jesus His commands. We are to abstain from immorality and selfishness, the very things that God was upset about with humanity. In fact, the book of Hebrews in the Bible talks about how ridiculous it is for anyone who would say I’m going to follow Christ, I believe in his sacrifice, but then their lifestyle doesn’t change if we keep on staying in a place of immorality and selfish living. And finally, we do good deeds are good works. Because it’s our response to God, we say thank you, I accept your free gift of salvation through Jesus. And therefore, I want to live as you intended now. So these are the main distinctive, what sets Christianity apart, Jesus is God. God offers eternal salvation as a gift since he paid for humanity’s treason. And we respond to God’s gracious gift with righteous living or obedience. So that, I believe Yeah, that that wraps up what I wanted to present and now I just would turn it over to the Table Talk table discussion here. And you’ve got kind of a guide for the things that I’ve said here tonight at your table. And so just take the next 20 or 30 minutes. You could just start at a place of conversation if you want. What do you guys think about this? What do you think about Christianity? Makes me think whatever. There’s some there’s some questions at the top of that first page that could help guide your conversation. And if you want to get into some of the passages, some of the proofs, you can do that as well. Thank you for listening to this resource by shepherds harden ministries. For more resources, subscribe to our channel, like us on Facebook or sign up for our newsletter. If you’re encouraged by these resources, and would like to contribute financially, visit us on our website at www. dot Shepherd’s heart men.org. Your generosity will help us seek the lost. Strengthen the found Together shine more brightly for Jesus. Transcribed by https://otter.ai The post Christianity vs. Other Religious Beliefs appeared first on Shepherd's Heart Ministries.
38 minutes | Jun 15, 2017
Identity & Calling
A recording of the June 15, 2017 After Hours event for men, led by Springhill Pastor and all around great guy, Sam Knight. Enjoy as Sam leads us through his own story of identity & calling as well as that of the Hebrew prophet, Elisha. Learn about God’s calling for you in this video and begin diving into the bible for its longstanding wisdom and guidance for living life well. Automated Transcript As Daniel said, I’m Sam. My real name is James Michael George night but everybody calls me Sam. And there is a story behind that when, when I was before I was born, I got nicknamed Sammy die die in in in Wales is the Welsh for David or Dally for David and I got Sammy David Sammy die. And when I was when I was born, my brother called me, James. I was named Michael, because after St. Michael, because my birthday is September 29, and St. Michael’s day, and I was called George after my grandfather, who was George. And so everybody knew that our family had four children, until they realized that there may be five children because there’s Jennifer, Julian, Julian, and James, and Sam. And so Sam was the one that got in trouble in the village where I grew up. And James was the good boy. I’d like to tell you, that’s really true, but for most of the time, it wasn’t so but I grew up I grew up in, in a place called Pontypool in Wales. And yes, I did. I did study at Oxford University. So you know, talking CS Lewis, Diana and I were all sitting in the pub one night Not true. I have I have actually served beer I was the one of the one of the pub guys working at the bar. I was a barman at the eagle and child. The burden baby where CS Lewis and Tolkien and the other Inklings used to hang out 11 o’clock on Tuesday mornings, there in Oxford. That was way before I got to Oxford. So, but I will tell you a funny story, though, because American tourists are so gullible. I will just tell you that so the tradition was that the Oakland Inklings would, would meet in the back room of the England child. And so we’d have these Americans coming past the bar, which is right there. It’s about halfway down the building. And they’d go right past the past the bar and they’d go further down, and they’d go into the back room, and they’d look around there take pictures of each other, and they pose and they take pictures and then then you’d have other tourists Asian tourists. notorious for cameras, of course. So they’re in there, click the click the click, and they walk back out. And I’d say to the landlord, I said, What are they doing? is they’re all they’re taking pictures. I said, Yeah, well, obviously, but But why are they taking pictures up in the conservatory? He said, Well, because it’s the back room to them. Well, the backroom staff just by the bar, there’s a fireplace and there’s a plaque that says, this is where they sit and drink beer on Tuesday mornings. Yet the Americans they said backroom they went to the back room took pictures will go. So I said to the landlord, I said, so do you think we should tell them that now? Yeah. So there was another occasion where American tourists would come in and I’d been asked to go help at another pub in the morning, because they were shorthand so and after that at the pub, it’s beautiful pub right by the river that runs through Oxford. It’s it’s actually the River Thames that ends up at in London, but through Oxford, they call it the ISIS. So I’m out on the pub right by this lock, beautiful place this American family come in. I serve them there in the morning, later afternoon, they come into the eagle and child, they go to the back room, take pictures, they come to the bar, they have a pint of beer. And they said, We saw you earlier, didn’t we? I said, Yeah, I was up there working. And so the landlord of the England Charles starts telling them well, you know, the thing is, Sam basically owns most of the pubs in Oxford. And so here’s what you gotta do. You gotta go down to the white horse, which is right across from the Bodleian Library, the big famous library doctorate. beautiful little pub down muscle down in the basement, says you got to go down to the white horse. And when you go just say, Sam said to give us a pint. Well, of course they believed him. They call up from the White Horse go is that is saying, Give us a pie. No, it’s Sam. So this will just play along. Give him a pint so they thought I owned all the post. Oxford, which, and would have actually been quite a lucrative business. So I’m here to talk tonight about and I’ve got till when don’t tell the preacher, you’ve got whatever time you want 930 tomorrow morning, okay. Alright, so I’m going to talk tonight about a couple of characters. And, and really it’s about it’s about issue of identity and priorities. You know, as fellows, we, we set all kinds of priorities and we think about what we want to do we think about what we want to accomplish. We have these dreams of what we want to be one day, and how we’d like to accomplish that. And so, for for this, I’m going to talk about two fellows, one called Elijah, who was a prophet of God and a another fella called Elijah, who at the moment of their encounter, at the beginning, was not the prophet of God. And so if you’ve got a Bible and some Bibles in front of you, turn to First Kings First Kings Near the it’s near the front. In the Old Testament, that first part of the Bible right after the fellow Samuel. good name. Sam. Sam. Sam Bennett. Yeah, you Samuel. Okay. I’m just a plain old Sam. So we’ll all right, so. So we’re looking at this fellow Elijah and Elijah chapter 19 of First Kings at verse 19. So first kings 1919. I don’t I don’t know if I have the same I have an S 365 on those Bibles. Okay. 365 good stuff. So I’m just going to read the story. It’s a very quick story. Just to give you some background, Elijah has done something really incredible. We’ll talk about that in a moment. And he’s kind of feeling a little bit upset. And then God comes to him and basically says, like, I need you to go do this. And there’s a couple of things he tells him to do in verse Verse 17, and 18. But at 19, Elijah, Elijah is told to do this particular thing. So he departs from this place where he’d been hanging out. So you depart from there and found Elijah, the son of chef had, who was who was plowing with 12, yoke of oxen in front of him. And he was with the 12th. Elijah passed by him and cast his cloak upon him. And he left the oxen and ran after Elijah and said, Let me kiss my father and mother, and then I will follow you. And he said to him, go back again, for what have I done to you. And he returned from following him and took the yoke of oxen, and sacrifice them and bother flesh with the yolks of the oxen and gave it to the people and they ate. Then he arose and went after Elijah, and assisted him. So there’s a couple of different characters that we’re looking at here, Elijah, the prophet of God and Elijah. So let’s look at this. So So here’s the how the story goes, here comes Elijah. So at this point, In the people of God, the Hebrew people, Israelites, there’s a lot of stuff going on this. There’s a king that’s in charge who isn’t a very nice guy, his wife is really evil. And they have, they have kind of just said to God, stuff you we’re going to do our own thing. And so I haven’t decibel, they kind of do their own thing. And there’s all kinds of just really awful stuff going on, in that part of the world. And, and God still has presence there, because there’s this fellow Elijah, he’s like the last prophet of God. Everybody else has rejected God, they’ve gone kind of doing their own thing. Even the king and his wife and his wife, particularly, that has really twisted way people think about God and so so here comes Elijah. So he’s walking as commanded by God to go, as God told him, Go look for this guy called Elijah. He is the son of chef at and you’ll find him and he’s going to be next. He’s going to be the next prophet of God. So Elijah, as we pick up in the story, simply as a nobody, okay, if you scour through the Bible looking for this character, Chef, and you’ll see a mentioned one time before, and that’s in the previous verse. So this fellow chef is a nobody in the Bible, he hasn’t done anything incredible. He hasn’t really accomplished a whole lot, potentially, he seems to have a lot of money because there seems to be a lot of oxen around. But safwan is really not anybody famous in the Bible. He’s just kind of doing his thing. And there’s Elijah, who’s his son, and we don’t know necessarily the position, if there are other kids, if there are other brothers, etc, etc. We just know that this fellow Elijah is the son of Shephard, and he isn’t anybody special. So it’s kind of just an ordinary guy in the Bible, but the problem is, here comes Elijah. Now Elijah is a whole different character. Elijah is the prophet of God that is not famous among the people because he challenged the establishment Ahab, Jesse Bell, and he went up. So he would be, I don’t want to be political, but it sounds like a good illustration. He’s the guy that’s going to drain the swamp. In. All right, nobody’s throwing bottles at me this point, I think I’m okay. But so so Elijah is the guy that’s been called by God to clean things up. So this is how he does it. This is how the story goes. And you can read about it in a couple of previous chapters in First Kings that sometime later, but he tells this story, or the story is told of him, how he challenges the establishment, and he challenges the prophets. The religious leaders that they have in decibel have put in place they’re called prophets of bail or bar depending on which part of the world you come from, and how you think it’s supposed to sound that nobody really knows how to say it. So the prophets of bail or the prophets of Baal and, and there’s 450 of them. So So Elijah, this one guy who has Faith in God goes and says, Okay, this is how we’re going to do it. So he challenges these 450 prophets of bail these established religious guys who this is kind of his draining of the swamp type of thing. And he goes and challenge he says, Okay, this is what we’re going to do. I want you to pick a pick a ball, I’m going to pick a ball, I want you to, to lay your ball on an altar. And then I want you to ask your God to burn this sacrifice up. So then I Oh, yeah, yeah, there’s 450 of us. We’re all devoted to this thing. This bail bar character and yeah, we’ve got this going on. So so they set up their altar, they set up this, this, this ball to sacrifice it, and then they start like, I don’t know dancing around doing incantations declaring, Oh, come on, just because we believe it. It’s going to happen kind of thing or, or we’re actually they take it a little bit further. They start cutting each other Cut themselves. They take blades and swords and they start to there’s gushing blood everywhere. I mean, it probably would make a pretty good action movie, don’t you think? Yeah. So, so they’re doing all this kind of stuff and there’s nothing happening. nothing happening. You know, it’s like you had your eye on that girl for a long time. And you’ve just been building up to it. You’ve been building up to it. You’ve been building up to maybe what in America, the promise coming home coming. We don’t have any of those kind of things. So I don’t know how to say homecoming without doing an American accent, even though it’s probably poor. But you got and you’ve been building up, you’ve been been on up and you go. Today’s the day, I’m going to ask. So you walk up. I mean, she’s the prettiest girl in school. And you may not be the prettiest guy in the school. So you walk up and you I will you go come to come in with me. silence and then she and then she walks away. And you there. Yeah. So So this is how it was going up, there was nothing going on. So after they had pretty much destroyed each other, cutting each other up and really hurting one another. Elijah says, Okay, let’s do this. Where he was, there was a pile of rocks already because there been an altar, a special place where people are connected with God there before. So he gathers these stones up this 12 stones, because the 12 tribes of Israel, he gathers these stones he builds them up, and then he then he gets the ball and he kills the ball. He places it on there. And then he does something really strange. You know, he’s got the firewood ready to go. What you don’t do on a fire is pour water over it is it? It’s really hard to burn wet wood. I’ve learned that several times. So he he calls for these guys, he didn’t just say pour water over them. He says pour water over them again. And our third occasion says pour water over them again. So you’re going to imagine this word, these rocks swimming with water and there’s a there’s a trial That’s been formed around it and there’s water just sitting there. And then he looks up and he says, Okay God, you are the one is almighty do something. And at that moment, the Bible tells us that fire came down from heaven. It burnt up the sacrifice, it burnt up the word, it burned up every and all the water, everything to care. And of course, the people like Ha, ha. So they started to follow God again. So this is who is turning up Elijah turning up with this fellow chef at son, Elijah, who is nobody so you can imagine this is what goes on. It’s like some some famous football player. And I mean football, like David Beckham turning up or or Gareth Bale, the great Welshman, you know, leading his charge to to us for championship. Good Welshman, or, or, or maybe Simon Jones, you’ve heard of Simon Jones. The cricketer. Yeah, or alternate Lewis who was my father’s father’s friend in school Tony Lewis and other cricketer Yeah, okay, how about this? Let’s How about moving Davis? You know, no movement is really famous rugby player anyone, Gareth Edwards. Or Come on surely you saw the 1979 barbarian game when when he scored that track it didn’t even see that. Okay. How about this and how about Alan Watson? Pittsburgh Steelers. Great Welshman, but he played in the 1970s How about john Norris and real famous guy now the watchman playing for Chicago? bears in 1987 you know all right maybe some Peyton Manning them. Who’s that fella? Yeah Peyton Manning you know that one? Yeah. Always a Louisiana boy. Okay, so so so we pretend like it’s it’s Peyton Manning coming and and you know buddy and that’s the kind of experience that Alicia has when when Elijah turns up so painting banning of the Hebrew world is turning up to this field. And the other thing about chef at CERN, Malaysia, who doesn’t seem to be anybody in particular, is that he’s plowing a field with 12 pair of oxen. And he’s got the end of the line. So there’s two things we could probably read into that. One is Elijah’s dad, Jeff had, seemingly had quite a bit of money because he had enough to have 12 pair of oxen. And the other part of that is that if he’s got the 12 pair, that means 11 pair of oxen have already been through that piece of the field. So he’s doing something, he is somebody that is nobody, and he’s doing something that somebody else has already done. That has how I don’t know about you. That’s how I feel pretty often when I look at other people. I’m not really doing anything. I’m not really anybody’s famous son. I’m not anybody. In fact, my dad is a Baptist pastor in Wales. And growing up I was always Clive night, son, when I moved to the States, first to Texas. Some people came over. When my parents came over to visit. They’d go Oh, are you Sam? Nice Dad? Yes, I’ve arrived. But he still isn’t very famous anyway. So. So chef had his chef had similar she was doing something that doesn’t seem that terribly important. And then here comes the hero of the people of Israel, the Peyton Manning of the day. Everybody knows about Elijah. And what is Elijah do? He comes through the Bible tells us the scripture says, He throws his cloak on him. So that’s the symbol. That’s like Peyton Manning. Come on along and going there, Dennis. You’re up. Here’s my helmet. Here’s my glove. Here’s the playlist, get on the field. But that’s the problem, Elijah. He’s like, Who are you look at that. This is Elijah. And he throws us Pokemon. So there’s a couple of things that goes on here in the story. And I think it’s perspective for us about identity Elijah Immediately says, I’m coming with you. But first, let me do something. And Elijah realizes what he’s doing when he’s putting his coat on him. It’s a symbol that that he’s next up. It’s a symbol, the word we use as he lays his mantle upon him. You know, he’s like the next one in line to do this. It’s like somebody mentioned Diana, Princess of Wales. I gotta tell you, Charles and English pretender, really wasn’t the Prince of Wales. The English made him that the Welsh put up with him. But Charles is the next in line for the throne of England. So it’s it’s like this investiture this, this mantle this symbolism, that you’re next that’s what happened to Charles and in Wales that a castle can have on in Wales. He was made, basically your next this is what happened with Elijah and Elijah, your neck. So what does Elijah and Elisha do? Elijah throws his cloak on him. And he and Elijah gives us a bread to this is big. This is really big. What have I done? The Scripture says, What have I done to you saying, This isn’t me doing and I’m not just some random person says God is doing this in you. This is what’s next. So So Elijah says, Okay, I need to take care of some business. So what is his business that he takes care of? Scripture tells us that he, he goes, and he says, Let me let me go kiss my mother and father. So he goes back and he deals with his family. He’s saying goodbye. He’s saying goodbye. He says, I got stuff to do. I’m going to see you late. So his first identity, his place in his family, he sets that aside and says, I’m going to, I’m going to do this. So I’m going to say goodbye to my family, and he does something else. And I think pretty much as spectacular and as much as you and I think about how are we going to provide, many of us are married, many of us want to be married and one of the things that we often Think about is how are we going to provide? When I met my wife, Jennifer 20 years ago, July 2, actually was 20 years ago, July 20 22nd. I’d moved it to Texas ready just to be there for two years. And the plan was two years and then then I’d be back to to the UK to the army British chaplain as as an army chaplain and off we go. But I met this girl Texan, beautiful. July 22. I met her by the, by the, by the fourth day later, I’d asked her to marry me. And one of the first things after that, that my father in law to be asked me when I then went back and said, so I’ve actually gotten to marry me. She said, Yes. And I probably should check in with you. And the first thing he said was, you heard her, I will kill you. And he meant the second thing he said, How are you going to take care of my daughter certain expectation you’re gonna provide so. So when you look at what he did this fellow Elijah, who’s really nobody doing something that really isn’t important, but he gave up something, he gave up his livelihood. So imagine back in the day when you’re about to ask your wife to marry you think you better go talk to the deck is that’s the good traditional thing to do. And so you go and you’re this kind of young buck ready to take on a life and the father in law says, so how you going to provide for my, for my daughter, you know, like, wow, you know, I got this great pair of oxen. They’re really sturdy, good, good, good animals. And I got this beautiful flower just had it made look at Oh, it’s just beautiful. It’s going to do the job. It means I can plow the fields. I can plan I can take care of your daughter. Will you let me have your daughter’s hand in marriage? And of course the father law to be like, dude, that’s a nice flower. It says Of course. Yes. So what is it? Why should he takes it any. He chops the word up, it takes the plow and he builds Fire. And then he takes the takes the meat, the oxen kills them. And he puts it on the fire. So it’s kind of like a barbecue in Hebrew times, although it’s boiled a little bit. So I don’t know what that does to the meat that might be different, but but you know, he gives it to everybody. So what is he saying about that? He’s talking about his identity, again, he has said to his family, I’ve got to go do this. That’s part of his identity that he says, I need that to come secondary to something else. And then he takes his opportunity for his livelihood. Again, for most of us our identity. I noticed when I first moved to America, the way that people introduce themselves and then and then talk to each other like, Hey, what’s your name? Hey, Aaron, how are you doing? Hey, Aaron, what do you do? What are you doing? your realtor? a rhetorical question. No, no, it’s a real question. But as how often people will ask you and they’ll say, Hey, nice to me. What do you do and it’s Almost as if it’s a judgment on us, when when we have to answer. So what do you do? That’s the question, what is the life should do? I should players fields. And I mean around here in Bozeman, Montana, that’s a known thing, and that’s a pretty good livelihood. And but for most of us when we say, I don’t know about you, but when I say, when asked, so what do you do? I’m a pastor. The best is sitting on an airplane. They can’t go anywhere. And I’ve also noticed on the ski lift, it’s a good chunk of time. And they’re getting further and further over to the far corner, as if I’m some kind of leper, but, but it becomes, but you and I know you, you’ve asked these questions, and you’ve answered these questions. We judge on what we are doing as a question of our identity. And friends. We can’t do that. Because if it’s always about what we do, what happens if that livelihood if that career is taken away, and many people have had to go through those experiences, many people have set out with their course plan that for what they’re going to do the my plan, I was going to be a helicopter pilot and the Navy Prince Andrew, one of the princes of, of the royal family at the time when I was a kid going into grammar school, so I’m about 12 or so. He’s flying helicopters in the Falklands war fighting against the Argentineans. That’s back in 1981 and 82. So a long time ago, some of you may remember that some of you may not remember that. But that’s what I want to do. Prince Andrew became a hero for me. That was my identity. I’m going to be a helicopter pilot and the Navy applied. They said you ever heard of the army? So that was not part of God’s plan for me to be a helicopter pilot. And, and I tried and I tried, and I tried so I thought, okay, I realized God was calling me into ministry and I ok if I I’m going to do this I’m going to do it my way. I thought what army chaplain, I’m going to get to fly in a helicopter. That’s the plan. Maybe they let me fly it one day. That’s the plan. If I’m going to do it this thing, I’m going to do it my way. Why? Because I was centering my identity in the things that I wanted to do. And the way I wanted to do it, so if I have to be a preacher, God, I’m going to do it in the army. Well, I got there, had an opportunity went through a training course. And they said, right, we want to give you a commission. And they have to do two years in civilian church full time because I’ve never done that before. I’ve got this opportunity go to America. I’ve got a plan. Two years in America, great adventure, what a wonderful thing to do. I go back and I fulfill what I wanted to do. And I met a girl and the story. My identity has been captured up in what I wanted to do so many of us have had those crises. seas of identity. Because that which we had planned, didn’t happen, the job that we wanted to do, didn’t happen, the opportunities that we thought were there, didn’t pan out and the things that we are forming in terms of our identity. Just don’t give us a true identity. So you got two things that ally should does. It says goodbye to his family, that’s a significant thing. It’s not like you never would see them again. But he sets them in a different place in his level of priorities. And then he takes his livelihood, his oxen, and his and his, and his player chops it up and he feeds the people BBQ. It’s another question of his identity being set aside. He looks at it differently because of what now has happened to him. So for you and I, when we think about our identities, when we think about our reactions, his reaction was I gotta go set my family in the right place. The reaction was, I’ve got to set my livelihood in the right place. And then he sets his priorities, the end of the story. He follows Elijah and becomes his attendant, he becomes a servant. So he’s giving up something that takes something else on that he finds his identity in what he then does forgot. And some of us we struggle with this question of identity all the time. Because we don’t know how to set our priorities in the right place. We know there’s got to be something more than what we’re doing. We know there’s got to be something else beyond our experiences today. So what is that for you? What’s that struggle that you have? How have you set about maybe, maybe, and I and I know it for my own self, maybe you’re struggling? Because the things that you wanted, the things you desired, the things that you thought you could accomplish? Didn’t happen? Didn’t happen. So you find yourself in a crisis of identity. I know we’ve got some young guys, and we’ve got some older guys. And I know for from counseling with a lot of different people when they when they retire, and they’re no longer doing the job that they did for however many years that they did it. There’s often a time of crisis. So if you are close to retirement, or a long way off from, from retirement or even in retirement, you’ve got to realize something really important. Your identity is not in what you do. Your identity is not in what you do, even though some of you are thinking, I really want to be a professional golfer. So when I retire, that’s what I’m going to do. Well, it doesn’t happen. We’re still missing out on our real priorities. What do we do? Or what we do is not our identity, whose we are is where our identity found his family. Now when I say that it isn’t it isn’t about the girlfriend. It isn’t about the wife. How many How many guys are married here? Okay, good, good chunk of you. How many guys have got girlfriends? That should be a different group from those that have to be clear about that. All right. So so we’re thinking now, and making those people, our spouses and our features versus the highest priority, when that that really is a good, noble thing to do. So when we think about that, we then think about how do i do my best to provide for them. So then you set a high and noble priority of provision, working, working hard, doing as much as you can, providing as much as you can. And then you you think into them as a noble and high priority about the family that you might have and what you want to give or what you want to offer them. And you said that as a higher noble priority, and it’s good stuff, guys, but it isn’t who you should be. And it certainly isn’t who you are. Elijah, that okay. Let’s do this. So he set aside his family. And it wasn’t a negative thing. He was re prioritizing the things that were important. And he set aside his career, His provision opportunities, because he then had to trust. And he followed this famous guy said, Okay, what we’re doing, and what’s next. And sometime later, we realized that these priorities for a live show paid off. Because Elijah dies, the story tells us that the Bible tells us that Elijah was actually taking up into heaven on a chariot of fire. I mean, that’s, that’s how much of a hero this fellow was. I mean, it was a big deal. And this, Elijah then witnesses this, and then at that moment, he receives the power from God that completely changes everything for him, and he becomes the next prophet of God. So the hero is witness been taken away. And I can imagine poor Alaska going hi Crap right now. God provided what was needed in that moment. So you and I as we think about life and priorities how do we think about that what’s what is number one priority in our life and for me as a as a Christian, it is first and foremost being a child of God when I was when I was in seminary a girl who I do not know by two or three interactions brought brought a stuffed under my door my flat in Oxford a letter I still have that letter. So at this point now my my time I’ve said okay, I’m going to do the preaching thing I’ve already planning on on doing the chaplain thing. And the the letter said things in that nobody knew about me. Nobody knew about me except God. She had this stuff written out in this letter, oh my gosh, she’s been. She’s been talking to, nobody knows this. And in the letter, there’s a word in there that changed my perspective and changed my life. And it simply said, If God says, I never want to use you ever again, will you believe yourself to be a lesser child of the one who created you? I don’t want to use you again. So this is you know, I’m going to be a preacher. This this all for God’s glory, of course. But God, God in that letter said, if you if you were to never be using if you would never preach another sermon, would you be lesser as a child of God? The truth is, first, I was thinking, yes. Truth is God revealed. No, not at all. It isn’t about what I do. Doesn’t matter what I accomplish, even for God’s glory. It’s whether I’m accept whether I’m it Child of God or not a Son of the Most High King, son of the one who created me. That’s the priority. That’s the place. So before and I confess this before I came here to Bozeman. I’ve been serving in a couple of different large churches over the course of several years, one in Orlando and one in Houston, Texas. And I really didn’t know what was next the my, my role at the church in in Houston as the interim lead pastor had come to an end. And I was traveling a bunch for a denomination that I was working with and helping and helping to start up and doing a lot of representation for them and different organizations and stuff. So I was traveling, but I won’t, I won’t be preaching, and I didn’t have a church I was serving, but I knew that’s what I was supposed to be doing. So for nine months, my identity went into crisis. As a preacher, I didn’t have a pulpit. I don’t know what I’m supposed to be doing. It didn’t make any sense to me nine months without a job. Doing doing what I was, I thought, creative and call to do. I tell you what reminded me. I remember that letter. And I remember that God said, I never use you again. Would you be less of a child of mine? And his answer is certainly. You are my chart. So friends, guys, our identities, first and foremost need to be as children, sons of the Lord God who’s created us, were his, we belong to Him. And as a believer, as a Christian, I believe that’s where I find everything for my beginning. And when I send to that in the right direction, my identity is that not in my job, not in my family, that I’ve got a great family three kids beautiful wife. Not in those things. But in him, him first then everything starts to pan out. So even now as a as a pastor, you think you know, he’s cool. So high priority calling. I’ve told the congregation I’ve served at all the elders of the church, my first calling in life is to simply be a child of God, a man of God, godly man, that has to be my priority. And then my second calling is to be a husband and a father. That’s next. And the third thing, well, that, that’s when I can be a pastor. I can’t mess it up and put it the wrong way around. It’s like you in whatever calling whatever position, whatever job you’re doing, you’re there for a purpose. If you’re if you are not centered in your identity in God first, as simply his son, because he loves you. Then you have to ask the question, why am I struggling? That’s why. That’s why. So Elijah follows this great, incredible famous guy. And then he himself becomes pretty cool, and very famous to be trusted. And he put all his identity and he followed and said, okay, God, Let’s do this. Let’s do this. So I’ve got a study I want you to look at. And I’ve got some questions I’m going to ask if some guys can help me hand these out. To do these in a group together and, and share together around this question and, and really, I’m not going to tell you what I’m looking for because the questions will help you discover it. It’s actually a it’s called the discovery Bible study. And hopefully that’ll help you. So fellas so in your, in your groups, if you just sit around together and talk somebody through and before you do that, can I pray for you? And I Yeah, all right. Let’s pray. Lord Jesus, thank you for who you are, and who you want us to be. So as we look at your word further again tonight, Lord in groups, open our hearts and our eyes to see what you have for us in Jesus name. Amen. Transcribed by https://otter.ai The post Identity & Calling appeared first on Shepherd's Heart Ministries.
40 minutes | May 19, 2017
A recording of the May. 18, 2017 After Hours event for men, led by Pastor Jim Keena of E-Free Church in Bozeman (www.efcb.org). Uncover the biblical principles of masculinity as shown in Genesis and the New Testament – you will not be disappointed! A special thank you to Jim for leading us this month – it was a treat to have you! Automated Transcript Tonight we have a treat to hear Jim Keenan Jim is the pastor over at be free and South 19th and around a long time in Bozeman, how many years now? Nine years in Bozeman. a phenomenal Bible teacher. I’m just gonna leave it at that one of my all time favorites and I enjoy your stuff so much, Jen. Love your spirit, your demeanor. How you come across and how you just kind of slightly shake us up. So come up and join us. Give Jim a hand. My on Yeah, okay, good. All right. Uh, yeah, it’s good to be here. I love talking to men and we’re just going to share some about what a what a man is what a man is. So let me pray for us and then then we’ll get started. Father, thank you for the privilege to stand before these men to share your word about what you’re calling us up to fulfill and our unique redemptive purpose. So I asked for a feeling of your Holy Spirit. I pray that each of us will be sensitive to your spirits work in your words, direct confrontation and teaching and instruction to us. So we commit this time to you. We pray this in Jesus name. Amen. all goes well I’ll talk for about 30 minutes and then we’re going to have about 15 minutes of table time where you can discuss and kind of talk about what I’ve talked about. So last night I was doing some premarital counseling for a couple that are non Christians. They don’t go to church. She’s a co worker, my wife and was looking for a pastor. And I had enough a relationship with them that they asked me if I do their wedding, I said, Yeah, if you’ll do some premarital counseling with me, and so it’s really neat for me as a pastor, Christian pastor, that me be with two non church, non Christian people who really don’t have a great interest in spiritual things they really didn’t talk about we don’t want to go to church. I go great because I this is a good opportunity. So I met with them last night. And you know, the topic came up as a Hey, I want to talk to a bunch of men tonight and I want to talk What a what a man hits. And I think I kind of asked the question, you know, what, what do you think a man is? And I didn’t give him a long time to formulate their answer, because I like to talk a lot. So I just kind of cut right in. But I said, you know, what is the man? I’ll tell you what, I won’t tell them tomorrow night. And so I gave them a definition I’m going to give you It was so cool. Because here, they’re sitting there, you know, totally uncharged and they’re going. Yeah. And she on her face goes, Yeah, yeah. She wants him to do what I’m going to tell you guys to do. And it’s so cool because it resonated with both of them. Because what we’re experiencing now is a manhood crisis in our culture, where we really don’t know who we are, how God has made us, what we’re all about, and culture and a post Christian culture we have with broken Families and so on understanding who we are some man is challenging. So what I want to talk about is what is a man and here so my goals for our evening this evening, I want to look at three areas of responsibility for men, men in general. Then we’re going to look at two examples of manhood and then want to close with a definition of what authentic biblical masculinity is. Let’s start with developing his biblical definition by going to Scripture. And so if you have your Bibles, you go ahead and grab them. And this is going to be really easy to find the Bibles I might use the ESP which is what you have there in the middle. It’d be easy fine. Go to page one. Genesis one, and Genesis is kind of organized like this. There’s this Genesis one has this wide angle view of creation, especially men and women in particular Chapter Two, there’s a close up look. And then chapter three, it draws a tight focus of who they are. So let’s just look real quick at Genesis chapter one. There’s this wide angle view of God creating male and female. Genesis one verse 27. So God created man in his own image, in the image of God, He created him, male and female, he created them. So we see God as created creating men and women and distinctive as as they’re created in God’s image. Theologians use this Latin term describe this. A Margot de Margot day means that every human being male female is created in the image of God. What is one of the clearest evidences for God? You you because what he did with humans, on all other animals, he elevated to this highest status any share some of his image with humanity, male and female. Every person you meet has some of the attributes that God Himself shared with them. So you can look at each other and get a little glimpse of what God is like, in a miniature degree. He shared his attributes with this. So we’re image bearers we have inherent worth, and value male and female, God created them. So we have value and then we have a purpose. This theological term is called a cultural mandate. You see this in verse 28. And God blessed them and God said to them, Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth and subdue it, and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens, and over every living thing that moves on the earth. Some hope I didn’t write it down, some somewhere says that God made man a little lower than that ain’t jobs, and he crowned him with glory and honor. And then there’s this description of us being over animals. We’re not animals are image bearers of God. And we have been given this responsibility. Again, theologians call this a cultural mandate, to create culture to, to rule over culture, and to make things better. And so he’s given this mandate them to be fruitful and multiply, and to subdue the earth and create because God is a creative God, He made us creative. So that’s a wide angle view chapter one, chapter two, then we see three areas of responsibility. And and in particular, we want to draw our focus just a little bit tighter and look at this first man. His name is Adam. Hebrew, that means the man pretty creative for the first guy. And there’s only one. Yeah. Were you the man? No one else on demand. So here’s going to be three areas of responsibility. And this is kind of unpacking some of what I said to the guy last night, and a couple. The first thing we see in these three areas of responsibility is that God gave a man of work to do. Genesis chapter two, verse 15, the Lord took the man and put him in the garden, to work it and to keep it. Work is ordained for us. Before sin. Sin didn’t create this necessity to work. We have always been creative beings meant to work and do things productive. So before the fall, we were created to work. And one of the things is this is a God gives a man of work to do. us a man have a work to do. Adam was created that way. And as we move on into the New Testament revelation of what a man or what a person is, he talks about us being right with God. He says, For by grace, you’ve been saved through faith, legions to eight through 10. And this is not your own doing. It is a gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them. Here’s one element of a responsibility of every man is we’re here to work, to fulfill our redemptive purpose and to move it even more so into a Christian context. You have been gifted before the foundation of the world, with those things that God can use and you to accomplish His glory and your work. The one responsibility for every man is to work, be creative and fulfill that redemptive purpose to fulfill what God has called us to do. Second thing is this, God gave him a work to do and and also God gave him a will to obey. We see this in the very next verses, chapter two, verse 16, and 17 in Genesis, and the Lord commanded the man saying, you may surely eat up every tree of the garden, but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, you shall not eat for in the day you eat of it, you shall surely die. I remember you had a Bible study with john and soothing limb, they were Chinese. They had a Was it a Buddhist background? I forgot their background, but they were both Christians. So this is like the first time we opened the Bible. These were these Chinese students that we’ve known for a long time ago. So I shared this verse I remember so clearly John’s kind of surprised when we when we saw this, this particular text about the tree but in the middle, and and then them taking and we’re talking about the creation story. And he looked at me and he looked up and he goes, God’s plan is flawed. God’s plan is flawed. Why did he put the tree in the middle? And I said the tree had to be there. Because if they were to be image bearers of God, they were to be volitional begins with the capacity to choose. And what the tree in the middle enabled him to do is to make a choice. Do you want to stay with God or not? They had a choice to make and so it was necessary for them to be image bearers of God for the tree to be in there. So they put the tree in there and there was a God put the tree in there. And there was just no there wasn’t 10 commandments. There’s just one Tony. Tony. That’s it. Again, yeah, there’s not much mission to get into when you’re alone. But he said, Just don’t eat of the tree, because the day you eat of it, you shall surely die. So here was this also, God gave man a will to obey, a work to do and a will to obey. And God wants to be in relationship with us. God wants to be the authority, the leader in our life, and he wants us to obey His will. There is a will, that God has for you to obey, real man except that responsibility. They walk in obedience. The next thing is, this is in verse 18. Then the Lord said, The Lord God said, It is not good that a man should be alone. I will make a helper fit for him. And we see this story of the creation of he were rib was taken from Adam and she was formed from that and she was a helper suitable For him, I remember doing wedding, or some premarital counseling for one couple years ago, I said, describe your wife to me and she goes, she’s my missing rip. That’s pretty cool. She kind of completes what’s not there for me. And so she was his missing, read that fulfillment of what is right. And so what we see here is it was not good for him to be alone. And so God gave man, a woman to love. So this is a story of these three responsibilities that God has given us at work to do a will to obey and normally a woman to love. Yeah, he had to have a woman to be fruitful and multiply, that not every man has to be married is not God’s call in their life to be married. But the majority are. There is this woman that you’re to lab. So we have these three examples from from this close focus. Now we want to move into more of a type focus. And what I want to do at this point is give you two examples of masculinity, a prototype and an anti type. prototype, you follow this one, the anti type, you don’t follow this example. They’re put in contrast with us. So we’re going to look at the example of Adam as a, as eventually we’re going to see an anti, this is what a man isn’t to be. This is how a man is not to live. And you learn from his negative example. So we see this as we go on in Genesis chapter three, in this story of the creation account, who he is, and now we move to in a tight focus of the fall and we look carefully what happened. Now Genesis three, one. Now the serpent was more crafty than any other beasts of the field that the Lord God had made. He said to the woman, that God actually say, You shall not be Eat of any tree in the garden. And the woman said to the serpent, We may eat the fruit of the tree in the garden but God said, you should not eat the fruit of the tree that is in the midst of the garden, neither shall you touch it lest you die. The serpent This is a manifestation of the evil one Satan. But the serpent said to the woman, you will not surely die. But God knows that when you eat of it, your eyes will be opened. And you will be like God, knowing good and evil. So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that was delight to the eyes, and at the tree was to be desired to make one wise, he took its fruit and ate and also she gave some to her husband, who was with her and he ate it Here we see the far the one will that he was given to obey. You violated he ate as well of this fruit. That was forbidden. And so we see this example of Adam, who he had a will to obey but as an anti type of what manhood is to be, he walked in disobedience to what God called him to do. Here’s an anti type of masculinity. They walk in disobedience to God’s will. Their defiant to his authority and his will and his way. Here, here’s our problem. We want to be like God, because I want to be God, Jim. I want to be master of me. I don’t want to bring myself under the will and the authority of the Creator God, he created me. He’s our anti type. But we put also not just an anti type, but scripture has as a prototype of what authentic masculinity is all about. And he’s called by theologians. Sometimes the second Adam is Jesus Christ. He is our example of what God has called us to do. Romans chapter five, verse 17. for it because of one man’s trespass, he he’s talking about in this one man, because of one man’s trespass, death reigned through one man much more will those who receive the abundance of grace and the free gift of righteousness reign through the life of the one man, Jesus Christ, the one man Adam, because of his sin, and since he’s our great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great grandpa and where his lineage we two were born with this fallen nature. We were born sinners, by by nature and choice. There’s that bent that actually Have that we follow and because of his sin is spread to all of his descendants. But Jesus Christ stood in contrast, and he gives righteousness. I like this first Adam second Adam. Contrast in First Corinthians 1545. Thus it is written, the first man Adam became a living being. The last Adam became a life giving spirit. The last Adam is Jesus. So he puts the anti type Adam, the prototype Jesus, and this way says but Adam, he was living being Jesus, the prototype. The second Adam is a life giving spirit. Every had to fill out like a delicate a reference call for someone who’s trying to find a job and and they are like completely worthless. You’re just scrambling around to say something good about him. And they’re saying what kind of guy is he’s a good guy so on. And this is what you say, Well, he’s a living being. That’s what Paul does about Adam. Here’s this reference. Well he was a living being a Jesus is a life giving spirit. That’s our example man. You You bring life or you just suck air. Are you a living being are a life giving spirit and we as Christ followers follow the prototype, not the and I type. In that we become life giving spirit. Think about work or your life giving spirit at work, or your life giving spirit to your wife or your life giving spirit to your children or your life giving spirit in the church. You add the culture or do you suck? Are you a living being our life giving spirit? So we see these two examples of of Adam who failed the test and Jesus who pass this test. And every man is going to make a decision to walk in the shadow of one or the other. So one of the things I told you to do is I’ll give you a definition of authentic masculinity and those you’ve been in a men’s fraternity, this is just lifted right from it. It is no creativity on my part. I sucked it from somebody else. And then I give it to you as a life giving spirit I guess. So here it is. We’re going to develop this this definition. So what is the definition? Looking at our prototype and our and I type? One element I think of a biblical definition of what a real man is, is, first of all, they reject passivity. They reject passivity. Look at her and I type Adam who was in the garden. Come back to that verse six in chapter three. This is what he says. So when the woman saw the tree was good for fruit food, and that it was a delight to the eyes and that the tree was able, was to be desired to make one wise. She took of the fruit and ate it. And this is what I always thought growing up. It was until I say this later in life. I thought that when the serpent tempted Eve, that Adam was out playing basketball, or farming or something, and he comes back he goes, what has happened here? That’s not the way it was. Did you see what it says is text and she also gave some to her husband who was with her and he ate. It seems as if to imply that Adams watched the evil one tempted Wife and he just stood there as a life breathing he was passive. I am 56 years old I’ve been married 35 years. I love being this age and I look back at my life and they’re not a lot of things that I’ve done that I regret I didn’t favorite my wife I I’ve stayed out of jail I pay my debts we got a nice house you know, there’s not a lot of you know, kind of good job all that they’re not a lot of things I look at that I that I’ve done that I regret. But there are a lot of things I regret that I haven’t done that should have done for him who knows to do good and does it not to him it is sin. And, and when we walk in the anti type of ad and one of the things we do is we’re passive Men, God did not create us to be passive. He wants us to exert authority and rule and be leaders, not be passive. And I bet many of you think of moments when you sit there with your hands in your pocket, and you watch evil unfold in front of you. And you did not step in and intervene. And you didn’t stop it. But you came complicit with it and engaged with it. Because after she said, he offered to him he took that will to obey, he violated but he also violated because he didn’t stop in and become the head of the family that God calls us to be protect his bride. He was passing the prototype is anything That passive. Jesus is active in his pursuit of us. And he was active in his interest of time and it turned into die on the cross for us. Jesus is not passive, he’s active. And no one looks at Jesus goes well, he’s pretty laid back and passive. So far the definition of this is that a real man rejects passivity. Next thing we see also in this text is that a real man will accept responsibility. He will accept responsibility. Go back to the Genesis text that we’ve been looking at. And in this Genesis checks in chapter three, look how he responds, when he is encountered by God with this sin. When he was caught by God, he’s cornered, and God confronts him with this, and this is what he does. He says in verse 13, or excuse me, Me. Let me just back up a little bit here. Verse 10. And he said, I heard the sound of you in the garden, God began looking for him. And I was afraid because I was naked. And I hid myself. Who told you you were naked? Have you eaten of the tree of which I commanded you not to eat. And the man said, the woman you gave me, gave to be with me, she gave me fruit of the tree, and I ate. When confronted with this, then he rejected responsibility. And he began to make excuses, cast blame and play the victim. God, it was the woman that you gave me. He rejected responsibility for the sin as the head of the family. And what we see in the anti type of masculinity is this failure to accept responsibility. This is what the word responses abilities is is built upon, you are response able, you have an ability to respond and make decisions. And what we have in our culture is millions of adolescent males who don’t man up and take responsibility for their actions, and they spend their time and excuse making blame shifting and victimization of themselves is not my fault. And that’s part of the old adage. And Jesus Christ rejects the past 70 and he accepts responsibility, and he pursues us as well. Because what we see in Christ as this, we see him first of all, he accepted the responsibility of God’s will to obey. This is what john 434 says, Jesus said to them, my food, my passion is to do the will of Him who said Me and accomplish his work. Jesus the prototype of authentic masculinity, he accept the responsibility of the work that God has given us. When we hear that we are His workmanship created in Christ Jesus do good work. So he prepared advanced residue. A man says, I’ll do it. I will accept responsibility and I will do the work that God has called me to do. Next thing in Jesus, we see that not only did accept their sponsor, obey the will but accept responsibility to the work to do I glorified you on Earth, having accomplished the work that God that you gave me to do. JOHN 17 for if some though you were in our church, and I was preaching not too long ago, I said, I have figured out what I want engraved on my tombstone. JOHN 17 four where Jesus says, I glorified you on Earth. having accomplished the work you gave me to Do Wouldn’t that be awesome to engrave that on your tombstone? That I glorify God, when I lived here on Earth, by doing the work he called me to do. That is that will to obey that work to do. And also, Jesus accepted the responsibility of a woman to love. Now never married, and Jesus is the supreme prototype of a man, but he loved his woman, because as Roman as a church, the bride of Christ, and this is what says in phases 525 husbands love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her. So here we see in Jesus the prototype, he took responsibility to obey the will of father do the work he called to do and to love his bride, as Christ loved the church. Or Thanks, guys with the couple They’re not church. I use kind of a variation of this idea of what a man’s all about. And it’s from john Eldredge, his book Wild at Heart. And john elder said this that there’s three things that are man supposed to do. There’s an adventure to live a Bama fight and abetted rescue. I’m telling you what, when I told that guy that the husband to be in his bride to be was right there, I said part of his role is a beauty to rescue Sheila and she knows my wife cuz she works with my wife and I said, You know what? I think without boasting I think my wife is very, very beautiful. Inside now and this color girl she is. I just really love your wife. I really look up to her. I said not bragging but I really think that what’s happened is because I’ve tried to love her the best I can. Her beauty is radiated even more There is a countenance about her, because I perceive her and I want to love her. Now we’re released that beauty with the inner. And so Jesus loves his bride the church, he loves you passionately and he wants to release that beauty within you. So this definition man is real man rejects festivity accepts responsibility. And then he leads courageously. Adam hid because he was afraid. And one of the things that will keep you from your redemptive purpose is fear. And what we need in culture society is that men to take the lead to step up in your spirit and your culture and create culture. lead your families to take the initiative. And we see in the prototype of Jesus is his leadership his ability to move forward. There was a there’s a point in the story that Adams reverse 90 God calls out to the man and this is what Adam says, Where are you? And it’s like God’s voice to you as it goes to creation. Where are you men? Where are you to step up and fulfill your redemptive purpose? Where are you? And he was hiding because he was afraid. So this development of this manhood a definition is we reject passivity, accept responsibility lead courageously, and then we invest eternally. he disobeyed God for an apple. He rejected paradise and Eden for essential taste of something that looked good to the eyes. The appeal of being like God, and he didn’t invest eternally thought short side and part of being a A prototype of follower of Jesus Christ of this authentic masculinity is that that we invest our lives in things of eternal worth. That we want to make an internal significance of what God has called us to do. Adam invested in a temporary chosing what would satisfy him in the moment. And one of the signs of adolescent behavior is lack of impulse control and experiencing delayed gratification. And we need to learn the delayed gratification of eternity that we will fulfill our redemptive purpose here and now, Jesus said, Do not lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal. But lay up treasures for yourself in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in. Well, I’ve gone a little bit over my time, but I have one story. It stories don’t count for time. When we when we I was passing on Arkansas, and we were going through a tough period of time, and we’re going through a tough period in our marriage and just, you know, just a lot of pressures, lot of things going on to us. And so we decided, I said, Kim, let’s just go to some counseling, because, you know, we’re just not clicking right now and all the stress and so on. So I’ve ever went to counseling, marriage counseling, and, frankly, the counselor lady, she didn’t do any good. But what was good is me saying, we got problems. Let’s go talk. I mean, that was the huge thing. I really was. I think that was the big thing. But I remember one at one point. We were sitting there talking and she was doing the counselor talk stuff, you know, and she looked at me and she goes, what, what what? You dream of failing? If you could do anything or world what would you drink? What would you do? I thought it’s really a good question, because it kind of determines what’s that work that God’s calling us to do? What’s that area passivity, I need to reject, what are those responsibilities I need to take? It really begins to, you know, what does that dream and, and I told her I said, you know, and I’ve been past this church and I there’s been this tug in my heart. I said if I could do anything right now, I would quit the church. And I would move and go to seminary somewhere so that I could further my education. Because what I had my man is I wanted to teach in a Christian University in the next generation of leaders. And I remember you know, there was all these things, you know, we had four kids at home and all this going on and I’ve seen really just pull it complicated. And and so I just told her what my dream was. And then you know, how it is kind of accounts and then, you know, she turns and says the same thing to Kim. And so Rather than listening to Kim, I just can put my head down like this. I was listening to Kim, but I put my head down. And there was like this. You know how this is like a impression, you know, we didn’t hear a voice or anything but just this really clear thought came to my head is what I was. We’ll do it and I thought I go we could do this. And we sold our house. It was so beautiful. I tell Kim, I I called him up when I was gonna break the news that we’re going to sell our house with my wife and four kids to what wound up being Chicago we didn’t even know where we’re going to go. And here I am in my 40s now, I think in my midlife crisis, so anyway, they said leave my wife, I just took her with me wherever you are I called him up. I said, Hey, I want to go out for lunch and talk to you. So she’s excited cuz she gets go for lunch, you know is Oh, great. So again, the car The church was passed during, she hopped in the car with me. We back out the car and I turned to her. I said, Kim, I’m going to resign the church. We’re going to sell our house, and I’m going to move in Roman seminary. And this is what my wife said, let’s do it. Because she knew, I loved her. And she knew I would listen to the voice of God. And I really believe we did. And we did it. We sold our house, left Arkansas, moved to Chicago, in relevant seminary, spent four years there. And then job opened at Arkansas at the Christian university that I wanted to teach at and they didn’t hire me. And so I had to GM Plan B. Bozeman. I’m so glad I’m here. God put stuff in us. It may not be that big. But that was a moment of rejecting positivity, of accepting responsibility of leading courageously and investing and eternal. That decision is what determined me standing here today, talking to you. I’m glad I’m talking to you. Because being the man that God created us to be, is one of the most fulfilling experiences I get to influence people for Jesus Christ attorney I get to stand in front of a group of What is there? 500 here 2000 here, yeah, thousand men and share the beauty of the gospel and comment out to masculine. I love this. There’s something in you that God created you to do. You do it. I’ll pray. You can break up your groups and talk about what’s a man? Let me pray. Father, thank You for Doug and Daniel and their leadership, their courageous leadership, their willingness to, to organize this event. And we pray that your spirit would do your profound work in us. I pray that we’d be men who who reject positivity, that we accept responsibility that we lead courageously. We invest our lives in eternal matters. We pray this in Jesus name. Thank you guys. Transcribed by https://otter.ai The post Biblical Masculinity appeared first on Shepherd's Heart Ministries.
25 minutes | Apr 21, 2017
Peter & Us
A recording of the Apr. 20, 2017 After Hours event for men, led by SHM co-founder, Doug Hartzheim. Enjoy finding yourself in the character and discussion of Saint Peter from the New Testament in these many passages. Get a bible ready! Automated Transcript We started after hours back in September, and it’s a chance to get to meet some other people and all for all of us to recognize that we’re we’re humans on a journey and we’re trying to improve so that’s something that is marked by this place is trying to improve our own integrity. Living life with purpose and integrity is our tagline but you More important to that, or what undergirds all of that is looking into the Bible, which are what those books are on your on your table there. So some of the guys who come to this have never opened the Bible, and that’s okay. That’s why this exists is to try to introduce the Bible to some people and talk about the God of the Bible, and his son Jesus, because the that, that that book has shaped history, and it’s shaped our lives, and it’s, it’s amazing. So anyways, that’s that’s what we’re going to do today. But we don’t expect that you just become join us in our faith in one conversation. And so if you have questions, if you have doubts, if you have criticisms of Christianity or the Bible, that’s okay, too. So this is the place and open forum to discuss at your tables tonight. And so let’s just respect everyone’s, where they’re coming from and that we’re all different. Yeah, I’m going to introduce my dad, this my dad, his name is Doug. You’ve already heard from him. And he’s going to share some some things tonight from one of the main characters in the New Testament, the apostle, or St. Peter. So would you just give a round applause for my dad. It’s our pleasure to meet with you got some ground that we’re going to try to cover tonight. I want to start by saying how much I value the relationships in here, especially with you some of you younger guys. It’s something that that I don’t take for granted. I appreciate it. And there’s probably really no way for me to express what you young men mean to probably a lot of guys that are my age, but I was in city brew a couple days ago. And I was just sitting there reading, reading through some of these verses. In right over here. There was two guys sitting at a table and they were just getting along famously and I felt like one of the guys, I’m guessing they were probably late 20s, early 30s one of the guys was, I believe, having a issue with a girlfriend. I don’t know if he was going to break up with her. I don’t know about I tried not to listen. But I mean, they’re literally from from there, you know, in course, I kind of fell off my still, as he got into the gory details, but you know, honestly, I wasn’t trying to hear it. I was just hoping I would hear the word pray about it, or it got involved or something like that, you know, I was hoping that I would hear something along those lines. But regardless of that, it reminded me of it because he’s got there were buddies. And, and the one guy really was emphasizing but the other one and in I felt that they looked at all appearances that they’re making a lot of progress and that they would spend many years as Good friends, you know, it made me think back of those early days in my life when my wife and I were getting engaged, of course, it would have been earlier than that because we were really young when we got married. And, and then all of those friendships that I had with my buddies in those days, you know, a lot of them got married, we were in each other’s weddings and just that whole thing, it was a great time of life. And so when I was in Cebu the other day, and those two guys were talking. I was short on time, I really wanted to jump in and say, Hey, Wonderland and after hours and normally I do that because I’m not shy about that stuff. But I didn’t feel the Holy Spirit leading me to do that. But, and then I got a text message from Trent Dilfer, raise your hand Trent yesterday. He said, Hey Doug, when is that once after hours and all that you know, because I can make it this month. Friends a realtor does a good job and as many A lot to me, no. Simple like that is, hey, I want to I just want to know a little bit more about God, you know, I want to pursue the King of kings, you know, the creator. And so, I mean that text, simple thing like that. It just did something to me because I thought, wow, if everybody could just have that interest in that openness to want to know more about the God of the universe. And so you know, that’s that’s kind of what I just wanted to lead in with. I appreciate you young men, how many guys here their wives have gone to work for wives or girlfriends at one point or another reason finally see that? Well, that’s good. I, it always intrigues me that there’s a good balance there between this group and that group. And when we have a bigger space, we’re going to mix it up, everyone’s gonna get everybody together. That’d be kind of fun. And then for your wives that don’t go to that you can bring them but we’re going to do here Tonight is we’re going to go to Peter. But we’re going to look at about eight or 10 verses. And I’m going to have each table, take a verse or maybe two, and discuss it on your own. And then we’re going to come back and talk about it as a group, to me a little different tonight. But what I want to emphasize is kind of what Daniel said earlier is, you know, we’re all on a journey. We don’t haven’t figured out you don’t have all the answers. So what if you took the wisest person on earth, the deep, most deepest spiritual person on the planet, that guy don’t know the answers, and probably probably got half of them wrong and thinks he’s got them, right. So it’s all about trust and faith and taking those small steps to go on your journey. So as we look at these verses, Daniels got a number there’s 12 verses here, and we get 10 tables or what 123456789 so we’re gonna we’re going to have a A couple tables, take some extra verses because I want to go through here and catch all these verses. So in Luke five, this is where Jesus calls Peter. And the reason it says here, he sees this fame next to the Holy One. He grabbed these grabs boat, got all these people follow him around because of all the miracles he’s been doing, takes a boat just off shore and starts teaching. But one of the things he did in that conversation, he says, Hey, you guys, this is how you should fish you know, try it over here in Peter course pipes up and says, Now we’ve been fishing all night. You know, kind of like, I don’t know if it was a difference buffalo or what? But he said, you know, not worth it. But they did it in fill their nets. And when Peter realizes that that is maybe the Holy One. His response to that was like of guilt and shame, you know, he just didn’t feel good enough to be in his presence. So we’re going to talk about that. Then another time. I’m in Matthew 14, Lord of Jesus, they’re out in the water. And they’re going from one side of lake to the other. Well, Jesus had not gotten in the boat with with the guys. And now he comes walking to them on the water. Will Peter be and Peter says, If that’s you, Lord, I want to do that, you know, tell me to come. And so he walks out there. You may know that story. He had the faith. He believed that Jesus was who He said He was. But somewhere out there his faith wavered, and he fall down, fell in the water. And Jesus said, you know, where did you go? And then we’re going to talk about in Matthew 16, where Jesus says, Who do you say that I am? He said, First he says, who did the people say that I am? he asked his disciples and then he asked Peter, what do you say that? I want to know who do you think I am? Am I the Messiah or not? In your mind, are you there yet? And this wonderful confession of price comes back from Peter and it says It’s a special moment. Matthew 16. Jesus predicts his death. What’s going to happen? It’s gonna die. He’s gonna raise, raise again in three days. Peter loves Jesus. It’s not we’re not gonna let that happen, you can’t do that. And when he did that, Peter said, You still don’t get it. I’ve been telling you guys that I’m going to have to die for mankind. And he said, if, if you’ll, if you don’t get out of my way, you can’t you really can’t be on this team. This is where we’re going is pretty, pretty deep place and I need you to believe in this. And so, and then he and then in Matthew 17. The transfiguration. It’s called the Transfiguration because as Jesus goes up on the mountain, he takes his inner circle and he takes Peter in john the guy, three guys, and he goes up on the mountain, and he says, and then they have a meeting with God. And I’m gonna let you guys read that one to us, but that’s Stories kind of a crack up the you know, Peter just nervous energy, you know and he he starts talking and wanting to build altars and shelters and stuff and then in this cloud envelops him and the presence of God envelops and and that’s where that’s where God says you know hey this is my beloved Son and then it almost he almost he yells at it feels like listening in the middle Peter nervous energy. I don’t know what he’s being Peter. And the goal tonight is for us to see our own characteristics and some of the things that Peter you know, our nature to control, or the anxiety that we might have nervousness the the take charge thing not trusting God, things like that. And then, Lord, how many times should I forgive my brother when he sins against me? up to seven times, and then Jesus courses about 70 times seven. In other words, don’t ever stop forgiving. You know, it’s it’s A good place to be. But that’s Peter. He just wants to know the answer. He’s trying to get to the bottom of it. And then, in john 13, Jesus was washing the disciples feet. But Jesus essentially took on the position of a slave, puts a tunic around him, gets down on his hands and feet in washes the most dirty part of the human body, just like they would have slaves doing these days. So he comes to Peter, Peter says, You can’t wash my feet, you’re gonna wash my feet. He said, You never gonna wash my feet, because you are God. You know. And Jesus rebukes and says, You can’t have any part of my kingdom, then I can’t serve you. You can’t be a part of my kingdom. And so, so much like Peter, he says, probably wash all on me, on the top of my head to the bottom of my feet. I mean, you can just wash me clean and that humility is what Every one of us has defined to follow God. You cannot make a decision to follow Christ in the simplest form. If you’re too proud to say, Lord, I’m going to open up my life to you. I need you. I need guidance. I need help. I need to want to be committed. But there’s a there’s a, there’s a piece of mail of humility that has Divya. And it was there for every one of you that ever made that decision. And pride keeps us away from that, because we got this image or, you know, we’ve got 100 different things going on. But it’s an identity thing. I was talking to Sam ago and it’s like, well, what’s your identity in visiting Jesus? Or is it in your big truck with the big wheels? You know, don’t mean to be too sarcastic, but, but there’s a zillion things. They’ll come and steal our attention. And then we’ll get so obsessed with that thing that that’s kind of our do our job. Yeah, I work here. I was It’s it’s fun i like i like the guys and we’re, you know the team that we have. Is that your does your identity beginning in work? Or maybe it’s your wife who knows could be your family. But how about Jesus Christ because that’s, that’s going to lay down his life and is mapping out eternity. And then a Matthew 26, you will fall away. You’re all going to fall away from me tonight. This is coming up on the garden, excuse me. He says, They are my Follow me. I love that. He points it all buddies, they might fall away. I’m not falling with you. I will never fall away. And Jesus says, well, you’re going to deny me three times before the rooster crows. Morning. So that’s just Peter. He’s doing his thing. Then he falls asleep in the garden when Jesus asked him to pray. And when when Jesus comes back, the toughest night of Jesus’s life is about to be resting. And he says, not to all the disciples. He’s talking to all of them. He calls out the year. He’s counting. Jesus was counting on you to build church on him. You’re sleeping, you know. So you can kind of get I’m just trying to give you a snapshot of Peter, right? In the humanists of this guy. And then it was Peter, I love that mark Ford 1454 he gets arrested. They haul him off the office and all the chief priests I mean, the, the Pharisees and all that and and they’re about to, and they’re out for blood, they’re going to kill this, Jesus. I know where all the other disciples when the peer kind of gets in the entourage. Kind of like that guy that stole Tom Brady’s super soldier. He just kind of they just kind of walked in there, you know, and thinks he can get away with that but it shows a little bit of courage but he’s in the kind of this in the fringe there that kangaroo court and and then they spot him and course he does that. denied Jesus before the morning and finally in john 21 one of my favorite stories when they see Jesus out there all out fishing again and let you guys read that one but he when they when john says hey, it’s Jesus Peters the one that doesn’t waste a second man he’s, you know, grabs his robe puts it on so he’s at least somewhat decent when it gets to show and runs the show. And I’d love to know what that what a deal that was. So I got let’s let’s just go around the room. So if you would take verse number one, if you would be so kind is to actually open these Bibles and let’s dig into it. Let’s let’s, let’s learn some stuff. You get this Trent. If your table do number one, and Zach if you guys do, verse number two, dirt you guys go with verse number three, and then back there in the back. Okay, so that’s number And john, you guys be number five verse number five, you guys would be six. Aaron, you guys are seven. Jacob, you guys would be nine and then Elijah, you guys would be 10 and somebody else take. Well, I missed you. Okay, so what number Am I loving? Did I miss a number? Hey, call out your numbers 12456789 your 10 and then who wants to do 11 anybody else don’t do number 11 Let me take 11 for me. Okay, they’re going to do one in 11 and I need to Somebody do 12 you’ll do 12. Okay, so discusses now, Daniel, if you could give me that other slide that shows the objectives here. I need that. Okay, if I can have your attention for about 20 seconds. Okay, we’re calling this a matter of perspective. Peter saw himself as well, sometimes capable, sometimes independent. Sometimes he sees himself as extremely loyal, brave, and then other times, he’s a washing guilt and shame and he’s a sinner of failure and unworthy. Right? And that could be any one of us. And then, but how does God see Peter, we’re going to leave this up here. God sees Peter By the way, God sees all of us as His children. He sees them as human, as frail as dependent What a contrast. Right? dependent on God to be effective. God sees theatre as empowered and emboldened by the power of the Holy Spirit is chosen servant to lead. So God sees us in Eyes Only God can see through, right? Our job is to is to shut ourselves of the enemy and the guilt, the shame. He wants us to see ourselves as trash Jesus to say, No, you guys are treasure. Okay, so as you go through your verses think of this. And everybody got the verses if not holler and we’ll switch it back. And then we’ll come back and I’ll have each table share. Oh, you gotta go back. You get to you get the gist of it. How does God see us? And how do we see ourselves okay. I want to move forward just in closing here, where it says that in Acts chapter four, Peter and john had healed this guy that have been sick for Zika 38 or 43 years in. He was a blind man since birth. He was a beggar at the outskirts of the gate outskirts of the city at the gate. And he’s crippled. He says he was crippled from birth. And and so they heal him and then they take a lot of heat from the Pharisees and all the guys that don’t want them to do anything in Jesus name. Peter lays into him starts preaching. This is the same Peter that we just went through his whole life, his whole Christian life and his walk with Jesus the ups and the downs, and the vacillations and the humaneness of Peter, and yet the goodness that would Jesus saw in him and wanted him to build his church decided to This church through Peter. So, now fast forward. Jesus isn’t on the earth anymore. He’s ascended into heaven. He rose on the third day. And Peter’s busy at it. And so now they’re, they’re ready to arrest Peter. And they couldn’t try him. They got nothing but a bunch of fraudulent testimony against Peter and john. But one thing is said, it says when they saw the courage of Peter and john, and this is what I want you to hear and realize that they were unschooled, ordinary men. They were astonished, and they took note that these men had been with Jesus. And so I don’t care. If the devil is going to try to get me down and say you’re only these things over here, you’re not brave, you’re not loyal. You’re a monkey. You’re a sinner of failure and you’re unworthy. You know what I want to do? I want to I want to spend time with Jesus and interested in Because I’m on school, I’m an ordinary guy. And it says here that they took note. So we all have a reputation. That blog I sent out this last week talks about, I always told our kids, you know, hey, we create our reputations. They are what they are, because we generated them, you know, and that if I do have an image, when that’d be a great image to have, the people would, would know that you spent time with Jesus. You know, that’s one that’s the one we’re looking for. And you know what it takes to do that. It takes a little commitment, little time in His Word. I’ve heard this my whole life, but only more in recent years. I think I’ve appreciated it more. But I want to be known for having spent time with Jesus. And and I believe that, that there’s guys in this room today that maybe have never really thought too much about Really yielding to God mean as you go through the motions, I talked about that last month when verint got done talking, you know, it’s so easy to just start going through the motions, we go to work, we get up, we do our things always go to church, you know, we go snowmobiling and mountain and whatever we do, a year goes by, you know, like kids have been married six years already. All of them now got married and four months of each other. But, uh, you know, six years have gone by my grandkids, oldest ones, five years old now. And what are we doing with what we’ve been given? You know, and we need to be better receivers. And we need to be in a position to maybe redirect our life and avail ourselves to the teaching of the most powerful man that ever lived. In fact, God himself and you can do that, you know, the most elementary person here the most, the one that’s the newest to any of this talk that comes out of the Bible. I’ve seen it happen. We’re in They say, you know, it makes sense. And I know what and I don’t understand all of it. I’m jumping in, and just gonna ask God to help me. You know, and if you if you exercise that simple trust, he does the rest, he makes up for the gap, the knowledge gap and the emotional gap and spiritual, you know, we just never will have all of that. But by God Himself, we got to start with that first step, right. And I know there’s guys here that struggle with that. You look at your peer group, and they’re not into this. There’s always 100 things. But just like Peter, the apostle Paul, and anybody in the Scripture, that’s a hero. They had to come to a point of humility and trust and say, I want to give this a try. I want to believe in this. So it starts with a step, you know, so get with one of your buddies, and just say, hey, I need some help. Let’s walk through this together. That’s a good place to be some of you may have to change your circle of friends. That’s just the way it is. You know, because they’ll hold you down. They give 100 reasons why they want You’re in their little drinking club or whatever it might be the things that may not be godly things. But I think that the main thing is, is if you will try to begin to understand how much God has made provision for you loves you and sacrifice his only son for you and get a glimpse of the love he has for you only then will you start to become get to a place where you can reciprocate and trust those the kind of the knowledge and the receiving of His love. That’s the catalyst. You know if we’ll just do that life, but looks out. So anyway, but let’s go Thanks for coming. Let’s have a word of prayer. Transcribed by https://otter.ai The post Peter & Us appeared first on Shepherd's Heart Ministries.
37 minutes | Mar 17, 2017
Living with Intentionality
A recording of the Mar. 16, 2017 After Hours event for men, featuring our great friend and fellow leader, Vernon Droge. Enjoy his words of wisdom from life, books and the bible in this talk. Thank you, Vernon! Automated Transcript So, every time we get together, we asked, how many of you are here for the first time when I see a show of hands. That’s just kind of amazes every time how many guys we get every time. So just because we got a bunch of new guys. Bear with me a little bit. I’ll just tell them a little bit about why we do this. We kinda came up with this idea. Maybe 16 months ago, Doug and Daniel were like, kind of the forefront of plan on this. And it’s really simple. Every everybody at some point in your life is going to have a really important question. And that’s why am I here? And how did I get here? There’s really only two answers one here an evolutionary chance that you came by chance to this earth. Second one is that there’s some intelligent being out there that created you for a reason. And the after hours team believes we have the answer, and that we need to share that with you. And that’s that there is a God and none of us are here by chance. And then He created us for purpose. And so we think that’s so important that This is what we do. We throw a bunch of food together, and we invite you guys and co chairs this building. And it’s basically because we feel it’s so important that we know our God, and we believe in him. And we just want to tell everybody about that. And you guys might crowd the size of probably all over the board in your spiritual journey from really not knowing a god, maybe there is a God to maybe believing in God. And wherever you’re at. We’re glad you’re here, because that’s why we’re here to kind of share what we know what we believe. So there’s three parts to after hours. The first part is the food prepared by the best chef I’ve ever seen. Over there. Part of it is just meet a bunch of guys and just hanging out and doing some networking and talking and just making new friends. That’s our second part. And the third part is just some type of a Bible story Bible lesson. And we’ve done a few different things here. We have a Bible story, and then just kind of read a Bible story and just talk your way through it. Last time, we have a panel up here, and tonight, I’m just going to take a scripture and then kind of work through a few things, legal stuff I’ve read and stuff through that. So we’re just going to start by reading text here, in some Flipboard ends to one level, we’ve all got these on your table if you want to look at them. So it’s called imitating Christ humility there for a few minutes. Courage from being an idea of Christ. Love if any common cheering this fear any tenderness or compassion, to make my joy complete by being like minded having the same love being one spirit and one mind, nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, rather in humility value others, above yourselves, not looking to your own answers to each of you to the interests of the others, in your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus, who being a very nature, God did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage. Rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death, even the death on a cross. Therefore, God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that was above every name, that at the name of Jesus, every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth. And every time we acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God, the Father When I was thinking about what to talk about tonight, I started thinking about what would I, what would have been good for me to hear when I was back 2030, you know, 2030 years of age, which probably already have this group is, and I thought I’d take that along with a book that I’ve just been reading, called intentional living by john Maxwell. And then I thought I’d take a little March Madness backs basketball, and kind of do like Doug does, I just throw it all in the pot, and kind of see what comes out and hopefully, in something kind of good. So, john Maxwell, in the book intelligent living starts out by saying, take a blank piece of paper and write your story on that piece of paper. And for a lot of you, you probably have written two chapters, starting your third chapter. You’re, you’re the author, you have the ability to write the rest of the story. And you have the ability to write the end of the story. So maybe Bob’s chapter six and my story. We’ve all got a different story. And we can write it. However we want. We are the author. About eight years ago, I heard somebody say, I don’t remember wherever it’s stuck with me. And it hit me and said, other than the books you read, and the new people you meet, you’ll be the same person five years from now that you are today. And I just really hit me and I thought, I don’t think I really want to be the same person. I am five years from today, or 10 years. And so I started thinking about my story and I said, I couldn’t change a few things. So I started just reading him very avid reader. I read anything I could get my hands on. All different subjects. And I changed the church I went to, and I started going to a new church and I met a whole bunch of new friends. And part of that was, I just wasn’t really challenged where I was in my life. I just felt like I was kind of stagnant. I looked at my friends, everybody was likely, we’re all in agriculture, about the same things. Every time we got together, I wasn’t being stretched at all. And I just thought, you know, I want to grow the rest of my life, I want to get better. So, for all of you, you know, you can, you can analyze where you’re at in your story. And you can, at any point, start writing a new chapter. So, how many of you want to live a life of others? Or another way? How do you want to how many of you want to live a life of significance? I would, I would say everybody does. You We’re here for however many years, we want to we want to live life in house, we want to matter. We want to kind of someday we’ll look back and say, I affected something I impact somewhere. We don’t just want to go through this life with the insight, you know, what was that all good for? So, today, I want to read a couple of quotes from Maxwell’s book talks about living a significant life. The first one now listen carefully, just might ask some somebody what jumped out at you this to be significant. All you have to do is to make a difference with others, wherever you are, with whatever you have day by day. And the second quote is, when you intentionally use your everyday life, to bring about positive change in the lives of others, you begin to live a life that matters. Anything jump out in there, throw it out. If you want to say What you have do with what you have? Okay. Do you do with what you have? What was that one about people? And that’s kind of what I was getting out there. The thing that I heard in that was, it’s not about you. And I think that’s just really ironic that to live a life, that significant world to tell you, it’s all about you. You know, image is everything, right? That’s what we’re taught all the time. But Maxwell saying, to live a truly significant life. It’s not about you, it’s all about others. So I’ve had the privilege of getting to know some really successful people in my life. People I really admire. And when I say successful, I’m not just saying the wealthy saying they have successful marriages, great relationships with their families have been involved in good businesses. So, all those people, how many of you think when they turn like 5060 years old wake up someday and just say, what happened? I’m super successful. Think that ever happens? No, I don’t think so. They’re super successful because they’ve lived intentional life. Their goal is not their goal in life was not success. Their goal was significance. So remember our definition of significance. It’s not about you. It’s all about others how to value add value to others. So if we look back in our verse that we read, who were who was like the most significant life that’s ever been lunch. Jesus Christ, exactly. Jesus life as we read in those verses. It says, I’m getting out of selfish ambition. did Jesus have any selfish ambition? He’s willing to come down to this earth. It was about him. It was about his ambition to Jesus make everything about us. Absolutely. What value would we have wasn’t for Jesus’s life on this earth and his death on the cross. Christ is the most significant life that’s ever lived. And it says to have that same attitude as Christ. So there’s always a natural downward pull to life. You don’t want life always be up and right. It seems like a lot of it is now to the left. It’s always a slide. What happens at You stop climbing? Yeah, you’re going to start going the other way. I think it’s a fair comparison to say it’s you know, you always hear about you’re like swimming upstream. If you stop swimming you go downstream really quick. I’d say it’s more like if you’ve ever been on a large body of water like a large lake and you’re you’re fishing you decide to drift for a while. Because you’re looking at the surroundings water, you don’t even notice that you’re drifting. You can sit there for a couple hours and just kind of relax. Look at the water around it. Also, you’ll look off in the distance and you’re like, wow, like I’ve moved a mile down the lake. That’s what our life is like, if we’re not intentionally living our life, you can just get so swept away by all the events, all the stuff in your life, that you find yourself drifting slowly over It’s not something that also happens to you. If you’re not living intentionally trying to add value to other people’s lives, you naturally are going to slide. You know, the thing I find out interesting about evolution is we’re supposed to be all evolving to a higher state right? And yet, if you look at the world, nothing gets better. Naturally, everything because everything falls apart on its own. The same thing with our life, you don’t significant significantly, look at ways to intentionally you know, build things in your life, your marriage, your family, whatever it is, the natural course is birth to decline. There’s this the chaos of life and just tries to pull us down. There’s TVs now hundreds of channels to watch. You got your social media, your internet, your YouTube, you got stuff, chaos, all this chaos everywhere. And that’s what slowly grabs us and slowly drips us backwards if we’re not living intentionally. So March Madness started tonight, and I got in 100 that I should do a john wooden quote. I’ve been in basketball kind of my whole life. I played it, I coached it. I watch it a lot. And so john wooden to me was like, there’s a little blood of Jesus. He’s what he’s real close, he’s way up. So, john wooden says, Do not let you get not let what you cannot do interfere with what you can do. And this whole point there is of all the stuff in your life. So much of it, you can’t control the political scene, world events. I mean, how much control do we actually have, but we do have control in some specific areas. And I picked just three of those tonight to talk about a little bit and that’s marriages, families that are workplace and I’m talking about marriages, to be serious girlfriend, fiance, whatever. If you’re in a serious relationship that kind of works the marriage to so if you’re not married, just told me out it might become so how can we add value to our lives and our marriages. I’m just going to focus on two things. One is leadership and trust. Your wife will operate in her best realm, which is the caring, nurturing loving room, which is being led while and that may sound old fashioned. It may sound like not politically correct anymore. But I truly believe that’s the way God designed the world and that’s the way God designed family structure is the man in the hall the man needs to be Take responsibility for leadership. And that’s, you know, I’m saying leadership and like a servant leader, that you’re doing your best to lead your life, not in my way or the highway type of leadership. And I think places where you need to lead well is in the spiritual part of your home. Leaving the family and devotions getting you’re getting your family out the door to church. Finances would be another one that you leave well in those areas, if you lead while in those areas that your wife will be Feel free to do what she does best. So number one is trust. So how do you like we’re talking about intentionality and raising the value of those around us? How do you raise the value of your wife on his trust? How do you gain trust with your wife Whoever, you have to be an open book. And that’s kind of foreign to a lot of us anymore. But I say an open book in your finances. There’s no such thing as two bank accounts. There’s no such thing as your hidden stash. You’d have to be open in every area of finances include your cell phones. It should be open to your wife and pick up at any time to look at. And that seems for a lot of the side. When I go for a drive, and I set myself alongside me, and my wife, she always always picks it up, and she’s any messages from the kids today. And he snapped from the kids today. And she goes to my cell phone and she looks up what my day was about. And I’m out on the farm all day. She’s living her life doing her thing and when we get together, she’s really interested in who I talked to what I did, and I always find it. So cool. That I can say, there’s not a thing on there that you can read. And I just I just that’s just such a good feeling for me and her that it anytime she can grab that. And so I’ll take that to your computers, you know, your your laptops, your iPads, whatever. If you want your child, your wife to truly trust you, they should be able to grab any one of those anytime and look it up. One thing that’s really prevalent today is privacy. You know, we’re talking about adding value to our wives. There’s probably nothing that D values your life more than look at pornography. That’s just comparing her to somebody else puts her value. She said, I must not be as valuable as the people that my husband wants to look at. So it’s totally valuable to her. It breaks the marriage trust and that’s what your whole marriage is based on trust. And that breaks the That right there. And if you’re a believer, we’re held to a higher standard than just not looking at pornography. We’re held to the standard of, really, your wife is the only woman that you need to be looking at. And it says in the Bible, if you lust after a woman, you’re committing adultery in your heart. So, you know, we’re all we’re all men. If an attractive woman walks into a restaurant or enjoy, you’ll notice that’s just who we are. That’s, that’s just we’re visual. And we’ll notice that, but that doesn’t give you me the right for a second or third or fourth look, you can observe at one time and then bounce your eyes. And a great book and a great resource for all of you is I got it on the back of your hand out there is this book is called every man’s battle. And I was saying it should be in every man’s life. I’ve read it multiple times in my life I’ve gone back and looked at chapters multiple times. Because it truly is guys every man’s battle you will battle the problem with your eyes throughout your life and here’s a great resource to help you battle that he’s got some just some really good stuff in here that just kind of helps you plan for like their situation I wasn’t ready for now what I do if you read the book, you’re kind of ready for those circumstances. So next area besides are our our wives is our family. And I got another great quote. So if he’s that close to Jesus, quotable and it’s like almost reading the Bible, right, okay. So the best thing father can do for his children is to love their mother. just such a great quote. Your kids learn More about how to treat the opposite sex, from your example with your wife than anything else. So if you treat your wife in a special way and a high regard, you love her, you respect her, Your Honor. That’s telling you your little boys in the family and as they grow up to junior high, women are so special. Girls are something special they need to be they need to be treated special. And that will carry through so that when you’re young son starts to date. He’s going to say I know how to treat women. I know. I know how to treat this girl because I’ve seen my dad. He treats girls with respect your little daughters when they see that relationship. I’m really healthy relationship between you and your wife. They’ll say, I know how I should be treated. I should be treated like my mom was treated. And that special. And my dad always talks really calmly to my mom and treats her own Special. So when your daughter goes out at 15 1617, whatever on that first day, if she isn’t treated like that, it’s going to feel wrong. It’s going to feel the same, right? Some young guy goes a little too far, she’s gonna be like, you’re not treating me like what I’ve seen a lot of leaders, right? So you’re gonna have a huge impact on your kids that way. I just met a guy over here, that’s going to raise five boys, Mike over here just a little bit ago and just never underestimate the impact you’re having on your children. Psalm 103, verse 13, says the Lord is like a father to his children, tender and compassionate to those who fear him. I find that really interesting, saying the Lord is like a father, comparing God to us. I mean, how scary is not that we are tender and compassionate. And so that’s how God is it puts a ton of pressure on the stove again. So, this statement seems pretty heavy, but I think it’s very true. You are the image of God the Father, to your children. And I don’t think I really understood this until the last few years. how true that is. I was at a class talk like probably six, seven years ago for it from Sam summer, the European church. It was a class called the advanced learning and it was advanced spiritual studies and was just trying to get you a little deeper into the Bible. And I sat next to a guy named Andy for like four lessons and I got to know a little bit super nice guy. He was in the military plane caught bazooka, he was just I really admired him right away. And he was Yes sir. No, sir. And I thought he was pretty high up in the military already and, but this guy has got really got his act together. Well, Sam started teaching about a Father’s blessing. How every kid wants His Father’s blessing. And he started talking about, you know, what it’s like to have a loving Father and the Father that’s always there for you. And I looked over at Andy and I saw tears in his eyes. And he kind of said, as Billy said, I have no idea what you’re talking about. And he shared with us that he had a father that left them at an early age, he was raised by single mom. And when he heard somebody talking about God, the Father has been loving and being there for you, and caring about you. He said, I can’t conceive of that, because he had never had that relationship with his father. And then Sam was leading a class was like it was probably mid 60s, early 60s, just whoever if you’ve ever known Sam, Sam was just like one of the neatest guys ever. And he said to our class, he said, I had a father at an early age commit suicide. Then my my mom remarried. And step dad was abusive to me. And he said, I still struggle all the time with issues from my childhood from those relationships, and Sam, and he was a pastor his whole life. And he seemed like he had his act together like nobody had ever mess. And he’s saying to me, I struggled so much because of the fathers that I had in my life. So just think about that, as dads what an impact you are going to have on your kids for the rest of their lives. In many ways, how you treat your kids is how they will you how they will view God as our father. I think my dad, he was a really strong is a big guy, strong guy. He would take the hails on the farm and draw my way up on the stack and replace Pick up driving along, he could just take like 70 and 80 thumbnails and throw them up onto the pickup. And he was just he was, if he had to put it on a scale of my dad, he was strong. I’m gonna put him on the disciplinary side. And if you would, caring and compassionate, that probably wasn’t my dad until you know, later in his life when he kind of really got to know him. But that was the scale tipped heavy that way. And if I think of my god, no, I think a lot like my dad, and have to remind myself as a Christian over and over and over, God is caring. He’s compassionate. He loves you, He forgives you. Why do I always have to remind myself because I never saw my dad that much. And so I as you see your dad and just like, just think about your dad’s right now and then think about God and I can almost guarantee you how you think About Your dad is a lot about how you think about your God. Another way is if you don’t feel like you have the approval of your dad, you’ll have you’ll have that carry through. You don’t feel the approval of God, if you raise your kids in that way where you’ll say to them, I’m really disappointed and you say that a lot. You’re going to grow up with the God the Father just thinks is disappointed in you. So be really careful how you raise your kids, because that is the example and that is the view of your father going forward. Another thing I want to talk about briefly here is your example is probably going to speak louder than your words to your kids. And your kids are always watching as fathers. It’s almost like you’re on a stage and your kids are the audience. And they’re watching all the time. So are you are you teaching your kids to serve others by your example? Are you one out who’s you know, service stuff around the area in the community, great training tool for your kids. If you’re the type that likes to give charity likes to tie, don’t hide that from your kids show. Say, Hey, this check is going to the church, this check was going to salvation army, whatever nonprofit, show your kids that is important. That example will carry through their lives. Show your kids will know what’s important to you by how you spend your time. And you can tell your kids over and over over like, you know, going to church that’s just what that Really important to my family. But then, during ski season, we don’t go to church that much. During archery. We don’t go to church that much. You can carry it on and on and on, you know, they will see what’s important to you by where you spend your time. It doesn’t going to be it isn’t a cell. If you say kids, we church is really important, my family. And then during summer soccer season, you’re chasing all over the nation, watching the kids play soccer, and you never go to church, but they’ll figure out what’s really important to your life. One other area that I’ve talked with Doug about this several times, and this might be our fault, our generation as much as your fault. I don’t see young men leading, especially like in the area like in local government or in church, like my generation did, and I’m not Sure, if you don’t ask enough life, we’ve got so busy. But my dad was a leadership kind of his whole life. He just was always leading the board on a council, some area of his life he was leading. And that just seemed natural. So when I got to be in my 20s, I started leading Bible studies, I was on boards, I was on councils. And now I see the 20 and 30 year olds of this generation, not stepping up in leadership, as much at least that’s my opinion. And I think it might be as much our fault that we don’t challenge you guys. And we don’t ask you guys who are like, we maybe hold on too tight. I think we just have to figure that out. And that will be an example to your kids. If you lead in different areas of your life. Your kids will see that an example and they will aspire to leadership. One just shortly story about how much a bad example can mean to you. When I was probably 1012 years old one night, I said to my mom, I can’t really what I wanted to do something the next day really bad. And she said, Well, that’s one you better ask your dad and some more damage and while you went to bed like a half hour ago, and I said, Well, I really got to know if I can do this tomorrow. And she said, Well, he might not be asleep sneak in his room and see if he sleeping. So I open the door real quiet, and I peeked around the corner to look and there was my dad on his knees on the hardwood floor frame, like a half hour later. And all the all the devotions we had all the things he’s told me is all kind of faded away. And yeah, they’re probably part of me and who I am, but I don’t remember any of the word for word in that but that picture to me, I can close my eyes and see it right now. like it was yesterday. Because my dad was a big strong man, by his example, by being down on his knees before bed, submitting himself to heaven and God showed me what was important in his life. And I’ll never forget that your example guys is just huge for your kids. Finally, in one area that we can affect love significantly as work be the best team player you can be. You know, in our text, it says it says put away selfish ambition to live a significant life. It has to be about me about you. I used to coach basketball, lot watching it. And I found you could have like, eight good players and not be a great team. Because you’re missing that one thing. And what’s that one thing gets The kid that made everybody better. You could have a good players and be an average team. You could have four or five average players, but one kid that nobody could stop that was made everybody on his team better. And you could have a great team. How’s up with the classy tournament last week watching, and almost every kid had one, one or two guys that nobody could stop. And that’s why they’re at the state tournament, because those guys always drew a crowd, two or three defenders without believe their man to stop that guy. And that would make this average player so much better. So at work, be that player. Be the valuable guy. You’re the guy that makes your whole team better. Who’s going to get the promotion, who’s going to move up in the company when the boss looks around his You’re going to want the guy that it’s all about himself. Or so you’re going to want the guy that everybody’s better around the guy. So you’re going to want the guy that when it comes to rushing time, everybody wants to be on his team because he can make everybody better. He’s the guy them drop anything to help you finish your project. I mean, he’s the guy that was 20 below and snowing out. He says, I’m gonna go start my car and everybody comes up from work and all their guards you have to still swim. He’s the guy that brings coffee to everybody in the morning, Patrick Flynn CEO, and he says, to be a great team player, you have to be humble, hungry and smart. And the humble part is, it’s not about you. But the smart part is just that. Make make your work about making your team outwork better. So now on your on your papers that we handed out, turn it over the back side, we have a little thing called table top table discussion. There’s two parts or one is one area of your life you need to be more intentional or what area of your life you need to be adding value to others. And then the second part is share with your table and area of your life where you are being intentional about building value in others. So just go through those those questions at the table and use it as a time to learn from each other. If you’re struggling in an area, maybe it’s somebody else’s tables got a really good idea in that area, and just kind of talk it through. And after we’re done. We’ll just go around the table by table and have just yet A spokesman on or somebody speak up and just can identify an area that somebody in your table think was pretty cool, where you’re living very intentionally, whether that’s in your work, your marriage, your family, any area of your life and you decided to live very intentionally in this area to make a difference in other people’s lives. Go ahead and talk for 1015 minutes and then we’ll come back. Transcribed by https://otter.ai The post Living with Intentionality appeared first on Shepherd's Heart Ministries.
44 minutes | Feb 17, 2017
Marriage Q&A Panel
A recording of the Feb. 16, 2017 After Hours event for men, featuring a panel discussing topics that make for a great marriage. Panelists from left to right: Bob Schwahn (Lead Pastor of Journey Church), Elijah Scheidler, Doug Hartzheim and Jim Keena (Lead Pastor of E-Free Church). Moderated by Daniel Hartzheim (far right). Automated Transcript Thanks for coming everybody. Without you there is no party. So we appreciate you coming. Even all 45 of you that didn’t respond. Sorry about running out of food, you know, that hasn’t happened before. I guess it’s kind of a good problem to have. But for those of you that didn’t get brisket or the chicken the chicken was the backup but the backup to the backup is we just put about 40 More winners. So the last thing you guys just keep munching on that stuff or whatever. And it’s good to have you just want to share a couple things, little couple housekeeping things. First of all, after our started six or seven months ago, just a bit of an experiment. We wanted to create an event for guys just to kind of hang out, be real, honest with each other. A couple of the goals in that is always to eat together. And as we recognize it, we’re that we’re on a journey. And we’re somewhere along the spectrum of, of, you know, our final day on this planet and stepping into eternity. We want to give God attention and space in our life, and we want to explore the Almighty, the creator. And so we always try to read a verse or two so I’m going to get that done now because this will be relevant to our discussion tonight. didn’t have time to Good chairs today we started realizing we were going to have, you know, upwards of 60. And, and we had 68 chairs in here that I counted. And we just didn’t have a chance to make a chair run. So next time we’ll have more chairs, you can sit on these tables over here, if you’re not if you don’t have a seat, I think these are hold you I tested them out a minute ago. And at least they held one of us up. So there’s a seat right here. If the guy if you have an open seat, raise your hand. And so tonight we’re going to talk about relationships. Daniel will give an introduction on kind of how we’re going to map this out tonight. And I just want to encourage you that you know, I think it was the very first one of these last September, and somebody came up after me and he said, Hey, you know, I’ve had some infidelity issues, haven’t been faithful to my wife. And this is really good for me and I’m turning the corner and patching that relationship up. And it’s from then until now it’s actually been it’s been surprising how many guys that we’ve run into That have experienced some heartache dysfunction in their in their family or marriage or, or just life, you know, and they’re just they’re just struggling. So we’re all here to help each other. But I want to encourage you tonight that to know that if you’ve broken relationship with your, with your spouse, or your significant other or family member or work person tonight is to encourage you into to take inventory and say, you know, hey, I can do that I can work on a few things I can, I can adjust some, adjust some behavioral issues, and move in the right direction. And if you’ll just draw close to God and let him speak into your life, I think great things are ahead for you. And with that, I’m going to read this short little scripture that you’re probably familiar with. It says wives submit, submit to your own husband’s as to the Lord. And that’s it. The rest of the page is blank. A minute recording this are we? Yeah, it will let it that out if that if that were all they said it would be a sorry deal. But it says for the husband is the head of the of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church, his body and his himself, its Savior. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit everything to their husbands. Husbands, love your wives as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word so that so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle, or any such thing that she that she might be holy and without blemish. In the same way, husbands in the same way husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself, for no one ever hated his own flesh but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ does just as Christ does the church because we Members of his body, therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh. This mystery is profound. And I am. And I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church. However, let each one of you love his wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband. And so tonight, we’re going to talk about not just marriage relationships, but in general, I should say, we are going to focus primarily on that. But, you know, if you’re not married, I don’t want to tune you out, I want you to realize that there’s so much to this relational behavior, when we, when we protect our spouse or those that are close to us and we nurture and we, we build them up and lift them up and we show respect to them. And so with that, Daniel is going to tell us where we’re headed, and we’ll go from there. So, I don’t know how much you can hear me but we’ll we’ll just work with it. How many people are married in the room? I watched the video this weekend and it shows no I got I got one on. So I’m good. When you think back to when you’re dating, your first dates with your spouse, for those of you who are in the dating stage of life, just those initial dates and your engagement, it’s all exciting. And you’re so into it, and you do anything for that person. And then you get married and it is like it starts to shift. And it starts to become like, Why do I have to do this or maybe you just start to take for granted one another. And I’m about six years into my marriage. And and it’s it’s interesting at this point to think If I don’t, if I don’t be intentional about my marriage, there’s no guarantee that it’s going to be a great marriage, it’s probably not. And there’s no guarantee that we will be together 20 years from now. And so I like to think of the marriage relationship as, as with any relationship, a garden gardens, you have to constantly cultivate, and weeds grow quickly. And but but you’re growing that garden because you want it to be a beautiful thing. And that’s the opportunity that marriage affords. And one of the things about the Christian worldview and what the Bible teaches us is that God Himself is in relationship with himself. It’s a great mystery, but it’s, he’s one God and yet there’s three aspects to him. It’s we call it the Trinity. You’ve probably heard of that. Father, Son, and spirit. But out of that relationship of the Trinity, God Almighty created and He created us to be relational beings. And most animals even in the animal kingdom, they’re all relational, takes two to procreate. So this is a fundamental aspect of what it means to be human. And so whether you’re in the in the dating process, or you’re in marriage, relationship with the opposite spouse, is of the utmost importance. And so we’re going to try to look at some things tonight regarding that. I’m going to read one verse, we have Bibles on the table. I’m sure many of you have Bible apps on your phone. But if you would open to, if you’re in this Bible, it’s page two. And its genesis chapter two. Verse 15, so Genesis, the first book of the Bible, the second chapter, chapter two, and the 15. First. It says, The Lord God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden, to work it and keep it. And the Lord God commanded the man saying, you were you may eat, eat of every tree in the garden, but of the tree of knowledge of good and evil You shall not eat. For in the day that you eat of it, you shall surely die. This is the one stipulation God put on mankind. Then the Lord God said, It is not good that the man should be alone, I will make him a helper fit for him. And so God then creates all these animals and Adam gets to name them and it and it doesn’t. It’s not suitable for him. Let’s see here. If you skip the verse 20 One soul, the Lord God caused the deep sleep to fall upon the man. And while he slept, he took one of his ribs and closed up its place with flesh, and the rib that the Lord God had taken from the man he made into a woman, and brought her to the man. Then the man said this at last his bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh, she shall be called woman, because she was taken out of man. And the Hebrew scholars say that that little, that little response to Adam had for Eve was it wasn’t just a casual statement, like I just read it, but it was like he broke out into song and poetry. And he was he was ecstatic about this helper, his own flesh and blood that God created. And then it says, Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife and they shall become one flesh. And the man and his wife were both naked and we’re not ashamed. The main thing I wanted to point out there is verse eight, When God says it’s not good that the man should be alone, most of us can relate to that. And, and it also is also applies to male friendships as well. It’s not good that we should be alone. So anyways, that’s kind of a scriptural Christian worldview that we’re coming to the table with tonight, as given in the Bible. And but unfortunately So, so quickly a marriage relationship can be a garden full of weeds. And if we don’t tend to it, the weeds take over. We don’t see any fruit. And we’re just in trouble. But I think all of us on our wedding day we want to make, we’re going into that with the intent that this marriage is going to be awesome. And 20 years from now, it’s still going to be awesome. And so tonight, this is an attempt from these men who’ve been married longer than I have and Bring a lot of wisdom to the table to try to help us out and say, maybe what are some warning signs of the weeds starting to grow? And what what can we do to cultivate a better marriage relationship? As we get started talking, I’m going to pass around two handouts. One of them is for a tool that you and your wife can use to just assess where you’re at in your marriage, what kind of weeds have been growing, and how can you deal with it? So start that over here. Take one pass it on. And this one is about pornography. Statistically 80% of guys struggle or or are addicted to pornography. So it’s affecting your your, your your life. And if it’s not affecting yours, it’s affecting someone very close to you. So we’re also going to pass this one around, and we’ll do take one pass around that way. So I’m gonna just be lobbing some questions out to you guys. And the first one I’m going to start with is spirituality. How important is it that the spiritual aspect of a marriage relationship? What happens if your spouse isn’t of the same faith? And any practical advice for the spirituality of our marriage? So just from a Christian worldview, how spiritual is the marriage relationship? Go ahead, Jim. Everybody looks at me. Yeah, there’s a lot you’re a leader. You know, the text we read in adhesions. Five, is this idea that the the marriage relationship is reflected the relationship that Christ has with his bride, the church. And so I think that is expresses the spirituality of marriage is that when we live in love and relationship with our wife is to be a reflection of how Christ loves the church. And it people can see in that the love that Christ has for us. So one of the things that is an opportunity for us is to live in that spiritual unity, the tearing God does that the two of us become one flesh as well. And then we reflect the glory radius of Christ, we live out the gospel, so that people can see it more clearly. That’s part of the spirituality of marriage. And for me, when, when you asked that question, the first thing that popped into my mind was thinking about the gospel, as well, because in the Gospel, it’s this idea that that God has reached down to us and provided an opportunity for us to connect and have a relationship with him, not based on anything that we did for him, but just what he did on our behalf. And you probably heard the idea You know, forgiveness, that idea of forgiveness that comes from God that he extends to us. And when I think about, I mean, there’s lots of mechanics of relationships, mechanics of marriage. But when I think about if, if you try to use it, or think about marriages and engine, I think that idea of forgiveness is like the oil in the engine. And I think the way that we’re able to forgive inside the context of a marriage, the way that God would want us to is, is if we’ve adequately experienced God’s forgiveness ourselves that we’re able to extend that in the context of marriage, and I think the reason that popped into my mind is because I need a lot of forgiveness in my marriage. So I guess I can jump on that as well. I think one of the things that was really difficult for me Yeah. Yeah. She clip it to my nose. Your beard? Totally. Yeah. There you go. Yeah, I really identify with that. I’d say the spiritual aspect of marriage is what is my power? Check, check. Other There you go. So I’d say this the importance of spiritual aspect. I’d say the spiritual aspect of marriage saved, who I am, and has given me a good marriage. early in life, I was super addicted to pornography. Ruin, ruin my life ruined my life until I was about 16. That was uphill battle until 20. But I grew up in the church, and I endure, I’d seen a lot of really awesome relationships, but I didn’t know what made those work. And so I think honestly Lot of what I thought about marriage was being dictated more by the world than what God revealed about marriage and Doug read in a fusions five that the, the mystery of Christ in the church, you know, the marriage aspect, it’s a mystery is talking about the church. And so I think the saving grace for me was that moment when I confessed I had no idea what marriage was, I had no idea what it meant to be a man. I had no idea what it meant to be a man who loved a woman what the needs of a woman we’re so caught up in a worldly perspective. And so, as a good friend of mine, Fred Nelson, he calls it lie therapy. As God started confronting those lies in my life with who he was. And I began to understand the spiritual aspect of what what is this marriage relationship and really started pressing into Jesus and realizing how Jesus loves us as His bride and the I get to be a part of that and then started receiving that love from Jesus. And that then gave me a spiritual insight into what marriage was in a spiritual context. That’s where I found breakthrough as a man and I think without that spiritual aspect aspect of forgiveness I don’t think I’d probably be married or that my marriage that I do have wouldn’t be the quality that it is so spirituality Yeah. Made who I am today. Just want to add to what what you were talking about the you know, these questions all have the word together in it. And you know, I don’t know where you a lot of you guys are on your, your faith walk and how long you’ve been walking with God if you’re in the exploration part or if you have a long history, but when I came when I was like, the age of a lot of you guys here, I was a new believer, you know in high school. And shortly thereafter, you know, I drank like a fish and we partied a lot. And I had no no real strong spiritual roots. I was raised Lutheran. And so I did have a basic, you know, attraction to Christ. But I was walking on my own. And so when I got married, it wasn’t natural for me to want to go to church all the time. It just wasn’t in in those days. So my wife was the exact opposite very conservative household church three times a week, Sunday morning, Sunday night, Wednesday, you know, and that took some getting used to, I’m just telling you, and in but I noticed early in my life, my married life that if I would, if I would ever avail myself to, to whatever was going on at the church. I walked away with something, you know, I always said there was some benefit some takeaway, and even though I didn’t want to go on the drive down there sometimes on a Sunday night or Wednesday night You know, I I was almost subconsciously measuring it. And I think in those early years of our marriage, that consistency of doing things together with my wife, that were, you know, church related or spiritual in nature, it paid huge dividends, and it still does to this day. And so and so even an event like this, you know, just just to avail yourself to, to say, God, you know, I need you, I want you, I need your involvement in my life. And I don’t have it figured out. And we’re going to hang with the guys tonight and maybe learn something and then maybe take it back and apply it. But beyond that, if you can do things, you know, I always feel sorry for for the gal that has to go to church with her kids without her husband there. Because what a what a lost opportunity for joint growth. You know, she didn’t sign up to go to things by herself when she said yes. So, as I look at these questions, and I think of the things that made the most impact in My life in the early days, it was the faithful, we created a routine, you know, and to this day it holds and in and now it holds true for all my kids, you know. Another another important topic in marriages called sex, you may have heard of it. Sexuality is perhaps the core of the Apostle Paul refers to sexuality as a great mystery. An interesting thing that I just learned last week, I don’t know how I missed it in the book of Genesis. God creates Adam and Eve in the first chapter. And then he he blesses them and tells them to be fruitful and multiply. And so sex was actually created and even acted upon before the fall. This is a very interesting thing. So sex is a good thing. It’s a gift from God. It’s God’s creation. And it’s very necessary to each generation continuing. And it’s supposed to be the thing that brings married couple, as close as they can be. And yet so often it can be something that’s divisive. For example, the man might complain that she’s never interested. And she complains that he lacks romantic overtures. So how could something designed to create unity have become so divisive in marriage? I just wonder if some of you guys want to speak on this topic of sex and maybe lessons learned the hard way. But how can you cultivate a healthy and even exciting sex life with your with your spouse? How much time we got? I’ll dive in. I’ll dive in. It’s in First thing I like I come at life, I was an engineer by training in college I ended up in, in ministry. But it was always interesting to me when I, you know, analyzed sex and in the in the sense of when if you look at it from a design perspective, the way that God designed it, it seems incredibly flawed in in a lot of ways. When you look at, just like the arousal time, like guys like me, were just like, boom, right there, women tend to be a lot longer. Something like that. Exactly. Like, and then when you look at just the, in general, like the natural desires, you know that men tend to want to have sex much more than women want to have sex in general. So you look at it from a design perspective, and you just think, what in the world what was God thinking when he designed sex because it seems like completely out of balance. But one of the things that I’ve that I’ve looked learned and thought about as it relates to sex is that there’s a way that things operate in God’s kingdom. And if you look at even how Jesus lived his life, not his sex life, he was a celibate man. But the way he lived his life, life in the kingdom was always about serving other people. It was about thinking about others, as more important than yourselves. And so when I think about how God designed sex, for it to operate, the same principles of his kingdom, have to be present in how we approach our sex life. Because if if each partner is just looking out for themselves, it’s going to be miserable for both of them because the husband’s probably not going to have sex as often as he wants and he’s going to be just thinking about a quickie and taking care of him and not taking care of her if we just look out for ourselves. It’s just not going to be as exciting for for both parties. But when you have that mindset where you’re just thinking, I’m here To serve another person, and the purpose of this is for me to serve another person, you actually get to a place where it is just one of the most exciting things there. And when you actually I, to me, I think you get to the place where you’re really there when there’s actually more pleasure and giving pleasure to another person than receiving pleasure yourself. And I think when you’re when you’re at that place, sex is just one of the most exciting things possible. It took me like, I didn’t figure that out in the first two weeks of marriage because it was all about me for a long time. But I just thought, you know, God, this doesn’t seem like this is working the way but then I just took the same principles of the kingdom and applied it to that, and it’s gotten a lot better. I think we read the Justice passage about they were naked, not ashamed. And I talked about this a lot in premarital counseling and so on, is that to me, we look at that from a sexual perspective that they you There was a sand and so on, there’s a purity to it. And that’s true. We were designed a sexual beings. But I said, I usually connect this idea that we sometimes separate this idea of intimacy with from sexuality. Because we really, I think, as humans desire, just intimacy in general connection, deep connection. And when when the scripture says they were naked, and unashamed, I think that also revealed that they were able to bear their soul and not have shame, that they could bear their heart and there was this intimacy, there was this closeness, there was this beauty, that there was no shame in the relationship and and then that ties into the sexuality. So one of the things that I think at the core of it and there’s a physiological urge, obviously, but there is this emotional desire to connect with my wife at a deep way and the same with my wife and son. Sometimes what we do is we separate the intimacy and the sexuality and the act. And it feels to them being exploited when you remove the intimacy. So, for that, this is one thing I did today. My we had an elders meeting at 630. I have a meeting here at 6:30pm. I have not seen my wife all day, because I got up before her. She gets up at five I came here. I knew that. And so I went by our workplace, I set her at her desk, and she had some real exciting photos because we want to do a remodel. And we sat there for 15 minutes. And she began to go, oh, maybe I like this color. I like this. I like this. I like this. I like this. And it was very intentional to somehow connect with her on the emotional level. And so I actually view like every aspect Back to your day is part of that intimacy that builds the sexuality. So when I do the little text to her or the little things, to say, I accept you, I love you, I connect with you, that really enhances the sexuality part of it, because that’s what she wants and when we avoid the two, so if you miss trader, and the reality is the things you did to win your wife, you just need to keep doing them forever. Just like you’re dating her. And you would have done that when you were dating your wife. Oh, I got 15 minutes to see her. And you would have went and saw but after 35 years of marriage, you might go ahead and you can’t do that. And so a lot of it is just that. pursuing her in an in an emotional intimacy and connect however, that’s the other thing about the spirituality and MC is the more that we can connect in different levels and when the most beautiful things Marriage is when you can connect on the spiritual intimacy as well as physical, recreational, and so on. But, yeah. Jim, when you said you showed up with exciting pictures, I thought they were going to be pictures of you know, kind of disappointed. Come on. But I think your insights, Jim on like, when we’re in dating relationships, like how I pursued Charles Charles, my wife, and the way I pursued my wife in a dating relationship, and then when I realized that shift, then in marriage it for me, what that reveals in me is an embedded selfishness that there was something that I wanted, I didn’t have, I knew if I didn’t put the time into it, I’d lose it. But now, put a ring on it. And so then I kind of feel like that sense of like, I can shrink back a little bit, get lazy. So that’s convicting where you’re Man, this topic of sex. huge passion of mine, you guys can I didn’t even get an amen. Um, but so obviously like I said early on in my life like I was just up to my eyeballs in perversion and pornography. So I didn’t I didn’t have the first idea about sex. I really wanted it something you said Bob was, I think is a lie in our culture’s that this combination of having sex like I was, you know, by God’s grace a virgin clear through college clearance my wedding night how that happened. God only knows. But in terms of the lie that our culture tells us is that somehow you’re not fully actualize. Or like you’re not done, experienced the greatest pleasures joy that life has to offer. If you don’t have sex, I mean, that’s that’s something at least I’ve heard and grown up through. As you said, Jesus was celebrate his whole life he didn’t have sex. But yet the abundant life is in Christ. So if Christ is on earth, and he lived his life as a celibate then somehow fullness of joy is not in Jesus. But none of us as believers would say it That’s true, and marriage ends in heaven. So there’s eternal pleasures that God’s right hand in heaven. But if marriage ceases in heaven, and there’s not sex in heaven, then our joy would be incomplete. So it’s total lie. And so as I pressed into sex with God and just saying, this huge area of pervert, I’ve just tons of masturbation, no self control. There’s this lie in me that said sex is dirty, like your dirty God goddess. This is something that you have to do in marriage. But there’s me and my relationship with you, and then there’s sex. So in terms of where we started was like what what’s, how does spirituality affect marriage? Like I came to God been hearing a phrase a lot that sex is God’s idea. I would affirm that wholeheartedly, but I would take it a step further. It’s like, it’s like one layer below. Sex is God’s idea. But it originates in his person, like sex is an expression of who God is not just an idea that he came up the engineer doing paper was like, Hey, this is a really great idea. It’s an expression of who he is. So Romans 120 says, For since the creation of the world, God’s invisible qualities is eternal power and divine nature. I mean, clearly seen being understood from what has been made, so that people without excuse. Well, I think I would just want to encourage you guys to really listen closely what Jim just said because in what what he said there’s avoidance from from just showing up in the sack and trying to get a quickie, you know, they’ll it just doesn’t work and if if we could if we could just reach out to you know if some of you are saying I wish my said I mean honestly, what’s the goal? begin with the end in mind what what would you like to see in your relationship with your wife in what does that look like so if that looks like mutuality, participate participation on both sides. Just a great experience, then it does just doesn’t start in the bedroom. It starts by dropping by your wife’s work and saying, Hey, I don’t have much time today. Let’s just hang out for 15 minutes. Or like roses yesterday and Valentine’s she’s loves those roses. She likes them anytime, anytime in Costco I’d say half the time I’m in Costco, I’ll pick up flowers take it home, because I finally learned after years, she loves all of the colors that are in flowers. I mean, she’s just mesmerized by color. She loves color. And so those little details like Jim was talking about, if you’re doing that part, right, when you end up in bed, it’s going to be the way it should be. And it’ll be mutual, you know, and that I mean, I just don’t know if there’s enough illustrations and stories to tell on that subject. But, but it’s something’s wrong if you’re just showing up. Hey, any me again? You know, she’s thinking, well, where were you all day? You know? So, I was just getting the one of the best pieces of advice I got from a guy before I got married the night before I got married is he just made the comment. In relation to that. He said that foreplay starts at breakfast, in the sense that how you treat your wife from the morning on, it’s going to affect how the day and because they need context. mean, we just need a place and barely even a place? You know, just like, let’s just go for it. But they need context like a relational context and emotional context, a spiritual context. And so, I mean, part of it is just how do we how do we create? How do we create that in an authentic way? Yeah. My wife and I’ve been married 35 years and our our sexual intimacy, I think I enjoy it as much as I ever have. And because there is this deeper emotional intimacy connection, and it’s it, it’s it’s completed with that non sexual intimacy it is rounded out. So just wait 35 years, guys, because all right, so a little statistic. I mentioned one earlier, pornography effects, they say 80% of men. And another statistic is it’s estimated that roughly 30 to 60. That’s a big gap but 30 to 60% of all married individuals in the US will engage in a marital extramarital affair at some point. And the hope of that is only 20% of divorces are caused by an affair. I found that interesting. But just bringing up this topic of infidelity, looking at other women than your wife, whether that’s pornography or someone engaging with another woman, everyone knows someone who’s ended up in divorce, probably half the room, their parents are divorced. So what what wisdom can we bring to this group tonight that can help someone navigate if their spouse or they themselves have been unfaithful, And even those in the room who are already in their second marriage, or they’ve gone through a divorce, maybe a third marriage, whatever. What wisdom Do you guys offer those who are going through that difficulty of infidelity that are going through it, going through it have been through it. And we can also talk about pornography. Because I think that the principle is like, if you want to break free from something in your, in your life, whatever it is, I think is bringing those things out into the light. You know, I just think bringing it into the light, obviously before God. But for me, I think since that I only confessed to God, I tend to repeat. And so I’ve just found that there’s just no substitute, especially if there’s anything around integrity. I think for me, it’s just non negotiable. That that’s got it. I’ve got to talk to somebody about that and You know, I’ve got friends in my life that, you know, even if there’s just something a thought that just feels off about somebody that’s not my wife, I just let them know, or I’ll just say something about it. But one thing that that for in my marriage, my wife is not my accountability partner around those things. She’s not the one asking me those questions. She knows who the person is, that does ask those questions of me. But I think for her to be that person, it actually would create bondage for her. And I know that there there are people that like their wives can be their accountability partners. But for some wives, I don’t think that they’re wired to be able to handle that because it’s not something that they can actually extend probably grace, it actually, I think creates a bondage in them and creates division in them. So I think, not that you would and I’m not saying that because to try to be hidden in any way but I just think I just think it’s not as there are wives are not always our accountability partners, especially around issues of sexual integrity that might have been longer than you wanted. You know, with the around the infidelities, well, as far as our temptations, or that sort of thing, some things that I’ve done just very actively, years ago, I wrote down everything would happen in my journal if I committed adultery. And I mean, the light just went on and on lose my job, lose trust a wife, my children, my mom would be sad. Which is true. And if you found out you know, I you would all be frustrated. Oh, Jim Keenan, pastor at freedom eyes wrote everything and it was it was just a healthy practice, the count the cost of sin. We are elders. We have accountability questions every Thursday morning, and our elder meeting. So one of the questions have you looked at anything? I remember one time years ago, I was having thoughts of another woman Women in our church actually never really acted on it did anything wrong, but you know, just these thoughts about her. And so I remember I was saying, Lord, every time I think of that woman, I want to start praying for my wife. And I began to just do the connection, that okay, if I think of her, I’m going to pray for him and pray for my marriage and move my mind off what was wrong back to what was right. And just bringing things light having accountability partners, and, and sometimes you have to cut off your arm. Jesus says cut off your hand. And you may need to take drastic measures like get rid of your phone, or get a dumb phone or whatever. And make those those statements well and then if it’s deep enough, get professional help. Yep. Same thing if you guys it just be we know for a fact that that in a room this size, there’s there’s a full spectrum of temptation in the enemy is alive and well. And he’s about destroying marriages. That’s what he think that’s the key least he’ll have are the fabric of our society. And if you’re not proactive on that subject, like these guys have said about shining a light on it, number one. And number two, being proactive. What would you just said was really powerful about praying for your wife, if I thought about somebody else were to come in that things like that, just little tools. Because if you’re not running from that temptation, you will get bit, you know, and you’ll be snared. And you’re not going to have relationship with your kids anymore. Okay. And if you’re in the midst of it right now, there’s hope. And I would say, track somebody down that you can trust, find a confident and help have that person help you shine a bright light. Because if you’re if you’re living in the darkness, it’ll last for a while, but ultimately it will get exposed anyway. One practical tip I learned from someone I worked with who ended up having an affair is, if you work closely with a pretty woman who’s not your wife, watch out. We all work eight or more hours a day. And if you’re working side by side with pretty women or a pretty woman, and you’re only seeing your wife one or two hours a day, it’s it’s a matter of time, especially if that other person’s not married, or their marriage isn’t great. So that was his 2020 hindsight. It’s like, don’t work closely with a beautiful woman eight hours a day, five years, you know, hire ugly. That wasn’t the last word. Yeah. That’s right. tattoo that on your own. Transcribed by https://otter.ai The post Marriage Q&A Panel appeared first on Shepherd's Heart Ministries.
31 minutes | Jan 13, 2017
Breaking the Chain of Dysfunctional Family Culture
Virtually all families pass on behavioral patterns, for better or worse. Dr. Derry Long discusses breaking the chain of dysfunctional family culture in this video, drawing from stories in the book of Genesis in the Bible for examples. Recorded at After Hours Ribs & Brew, our monthly men’s gathering where we seek to grow in integrity and purpose. For further reading on building healthy family dynamics with a Christian worldview, consider the resources by Focus on the Family. Thank you, Dr. Long, for sharing with us! Automated Transcript Good evening, man. And thank you, Doug. Doug is a good friend. And I just learned a lot from him. I’m never with him without learning something. And. And like tonight, I didn’t remember that I had talked about my mom running over my head with a car. She, she, she didn’t like me to tell that story and I like to think it was an accident. So Anyway, we’re going to spend a little time tonight talking about how, how dysfunction gets in a family and can carry down from generation to generation. I’ve worked with people for 45 years now. And one of the things, among a lot of things I’ve noticed is that we like to think even in the Christian world, that everything is about independence. I am my own person, I make my own choices. We are part of a network. And if you’re from a family, which you are, you’re part of a network. And that family has a history and that history has an impact. And it doesn’t mean you don’t have a personal choice about that impact. But you and I ought to be alert about that impact. I could say to a family that has numerous generations in a denial of where the issue of money has consistently been a problem in their family dynamics and it’s gone on. It’s gone on generation after generation. They will tell themselves that it’s not actually going on. For example, one of the men I knew his father was careless with money and made a lot of unwise decisions and was only short of money. And his son didn’t think he had that problem. Because his son was frugal. Well, I wouldn’t use the word frugal his son was paranoid. So for example, when when they would finish with a with a bar of butter, and it has that little has that little aluminum around it, he would make sure his wife kept that because then they would keep them all and when they baked potatoes then they would wrap their potato in the, in the little pieces of aluminum that had once held the butter. The fact is, he had the same problem his father had, he had a problem about money. It was just that his father was way out of balance over here, and he was way out of balance over there. And that went on for generations. I know of a wonderful Christian family in Minnesota. Who has a has a, a history of faith in Christ that runs down through their generations. They also have a history on the male side of their family of struggling with sexual sin. And, and anybody who knows them knows that that’s true. In my family of origin on my mother’s side, there is a propensity towards anxiety. And I used to lose patience with my mom because my mom has that. And her mom had that and her mom’s. Her mom had that. But about two years ago, I just kind of ran out of gas and I found myself on unable to deal with the anxiety that I was feeling. And I realized that I was actually experiencing the same thing that my mother and her mother and her mother had experienced. And that that was a strain that ran through our family dynamics. You don’t have to go into the Bible, very far to find that if you go into the Minor Prophets you read about Oba Daya. Oh, but I was a prophet who prophesied to the termites and the eat of mice were the descendants of Esau. You remember the story of Jacob and Esau and Jacob stealing Esau his birthright? And what do you suppose the family dynamics the family dialogue was on the east side of the family over the years, but we actually know what it was. It was that we were mistreated. We were cheated out of what was ours. That was so strong, that literally hundreds and hundreds of years later when Moses led the children of Israel out of Egypt, the EDA mites would not let them go across their land. And when Jerusalem was being sacked, the EDA mites gathered up the refugees fleeing from Jerusalem and delivered them to their oppressors. Because for hundreds of years, the EDA mites had one family tradition and it was bitterness And bitterness governed how that family dynamic unfolded, generation after generation. And I’m going to give you a little picture of a family in the Old Testament. These are people we revere, people God work through, but they had a problem with deceit. And we’re going to look at in the book of Genesis, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and Judah. And then we’re going to look at Joseph, who broke the chain and established a new heritage for us family. You and I are men, many of us have families. And we one of our responsibilities is to create a godly heritage. And part of the responsibility of a godly heritage is breaking the chains that may have come into our life and into our family and being wise enough To see how that happened. So Abraham, this kind of kind of peculiar because Abraham’s considered the father of faith. In the in the New Testament, he’s talked about as a man of faith, we look at him as someone who trusted God. But you don’t have to get very far into Genesis Genesis chapter 12. he marries Sarah. Sarah is a beautiful woman, they go to Egypt. And Abraham gets afraid that the Pharaoh and the leaders of Egypt will be attracted to his wife, and that they’ll just kill him in order to in order to have her and so he can Cox’s story, that she is his sister. And then feral finds out that that is not the case. And he comes to Abraham and says, Why in the world have you done this? You have subjected us to the judgment of God because of this deceit. Now you to think that would have made an impression on Abraham, but you don’t have to go eight more chapters in chapter 20. He’s over in garage, g AR AR and a BMX the king, and he’s afraid that he might want Sarah. So again, he lies that. And so Sarah is his sister. And the Bible tells us that Obama had a dream and realizing the dream that this wasn’t the case. And he went to Abraham and he said the same thing. The Pharaoh said, Why have you done this? And did you brought judgment on to our house because of this? Because you said was there see your sister and so we took her into our family. That was part of the heritage of Abraham. Abraham as a son who’s Isaac, and Isaac gets married to Rebecca And wouldn’t you know, Rebecca is a pretty woman. And Rebecca goes into the eyes it goes into the same country abilities. King, and he lies about Rebecca being his wife. And the Bible says that have been accepted. That is true that it was that Rebecca was a sister, except that he, he saw that, according the scripture says that they were standing close together laughing. And some suggest the word is included included in that as caressing and he realized that’s not his sister and his ghost Isaac is his wouldn’t you wouldn’t you know what he says is why have you done this? Because you have brought you have brought judgment upon our family. And you know how the old phrase What goes around comes around and So Isaac has two sons, Jacob and Esau. And Rebecca’s favorite is Jacob. And Isaac’s getting ready to bless Esau and so Rebecca colludes with Jacob and says, go out and get some animals and will kill them and we’ll make a big feast while he was out hunting for the very same feast will make a feast and Jacob says yeah, but I’m a smooth man and I Esau hairy man will take care of that and they use skin and they use hair and i mean i mean it was the whole nine yards they just they went all out to deceive Isaac. Jacob was in on that. Taking Esau birthright from him and the blessing of Isaac. But wouldn’t you know, Jacob sees a woman that he likes. layman has two daughters Leah and Rachel. And he likes Rachel and so he talks the layman about marrying Rachel and labels is where you work with work for me for Seven years and you can have Rachel and I even got some good deals. We work for him for seven years. And then there’s lots of veils and stuff in the east and he’s mistaken and he wakes up in the morning and he slept with Leah and he’s married Leah. Because layman is in on deceiving Jacob about who Leah was and who Rachel was, is as well, but I wanted to marry Rachel while work for me seven more years and you can have Rachel so now we got Abraham deceiving Isaac deceiving. Jacob deceiving Jacob, his family deceiving him, labeling deceiving Jacob, then Jacob and labor are kind of in business together and they end up they want, they want to want to do some things with the livestock and so Jacob says, Well how about if I have all the livestock that are striped and spotted and dark and you can have all the white ones and then the Bible says labor and got his workers together and they took a bunch of the spotted dark and and they took a bunch of them and took Three days journey away so so the Jacob couldn’t see him. But Jacob come up with some idea about how the strong would meet with a strong and so he ended up with all the strong livestock that labor and it’s pretty convoluted but it isn’t deceit always. Because it just gets it just gets more and more tangled. Jacob has a daughter Dinah. Shack them plays with Dinah forcefully but he likes her. So check them his father appeals to the family to Jacob Jacobs family. Let check a married Dinah. But check them Jacob’s sons to speak the Bible says deceitfully to shut them and check them his father deceived them and eventually goes into the village and kills a whole bunch of them. Then we have Jacob and Joseph. Jacob has 12 sons from Leah, who never loved I will say she had we guys matter what we guys mean but it doesn’t seem that our been enough not to love someone you married but he never loved her and she lived in bitterness over the fact that she wasn’t loved. He loved Rachel and Rachel has two sons, Joseph and Benjamin. Jacob and rake, Jacob and his wife love Joseph. The rest of the sons are embittered over the favoritism. So they they capture Joseph, throw them in a pit, then sell him to a caravan going by that ends up in Egypt. And what did they do? They take his coat of many colors different In goats blood takes take it to their father and they deceive us as well. He was killed by a wild animal. I mean, these are icons. We preach sermons about the faith of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. But this thing of deceit that ran through their family. And then Joseph had a son named Judah. Judah had a son named Earl, or married Tamar and didn’t give her offspring and then he died. And so then then the brother in law was supposed to take care of that responsibility, but he wouldn’t, and so angered that anger that Judas Judas family did not fulfill the responsibility. She dressed up as a harlot along the roadside, Judah saw her, went into her and slept with her. She got pregnant Lynn he is a know it’s Tamar, his daughter in law. And when he sees that she’s pregnant and he knows that she’s not married, they’re actually going to judge her for it. But he left some of his possessions with her when he had slept with her. She brings out the possessions and shows that it is Judah. It is my father in law who slept with me. What a history. And then we come to Joseph, because in the middle of this kind of dysfunction, Joseph becomes an emblem to us that there is a way out of family dysfunction, even when it runs generations in our life. He is sold into slavery. But in slavery in Egypt, he lives a model life The Bible says he’s put into Potter first house and he runs that house so well as a slave that the scripture says Potter for doesn’t even give any thought anymore to how the house should be run because Joseph runs it so well. Here’s a man who’s taking care of other people’s business as if it was his own, even though he was a slave. And then the potter firs wife likes Joseph and lies about him and so he ends up in prison because he won’t sleep whether he does so well in the prison that the Bible says the warden gives no thought about the running of the prison because Joseph running so well. Remember the EDA mites, hundreds of years of bitterness. Here’s a guy who has every reason to be bitter. And yet he serves Potter for he serves the warden in prison. Then down in the prison, the cup bear and the baker who used to work for the king are both there they have a dream. Joseph interprets the dream Dreams come true and the baker is, is hanged to his unfortunate dream. But the cup bear is reinstated and he said now when you’re reinstated remember me but he doesn’t remember him until the pharaoh has a dream, and the cup burn, remember that there was a guy in prison who remembered who interpreted his dreams and he says, Hey, I know a guy. So they bring Joseph out. Pharaoh tells him the dream and he said, Well, Joseph, what’s going to happen? You’re going to have seven really great years and then you’re going to have seven years of drought. So God’s God’s allowing you to prepare for the drought years, by storing up during the Great years. The Pharaoh so impressed with Joseph’s understanding that he puts Joseph in charge, cherries, part of herself, Joseph’s in charge, even though he’s mistreated. He’s in prison, but he serves the warden. He’s in prison and he serves the cup bearing the king, the baker. He’s now in Pharaoh’s house and he serving Pharaoh and the even though he is a slave, he’s been taken there against as well. And then in the drought, the brothers come back. These brothers that had sold him into slavery and lied to their father. They return because they’re starving. The Bible tells us in Genesis 4244 and 45 the Joseph Hart was so ready for reconciliation. He wept three different times in this interchange with his brothers wept when his heart could have been hard, he kept his heart open until finally in chapter 50 of Genesis so you can read that This whole thing from Genesis 12 to 15, Chapter 50. He says to his brothers, I know you meant it for evil, but God used it for good. Now what what was there in Joseph’s life that enabled him to break this chain that held the family, his family of origin bonded in bondage? Well, let’s start with the first thing. Joseph knew he was loved. Jacob loved him. And Rachel loved him. He knew he was loved. He didn’t wake up wondering what his status in the family was. Now his brothers had a problem with him. But, but he knew from his family of origin from his parents. He was loved. Remember, 10 of the 12 children came from a mother, who was embittered against her husband. 10 of the 12 came from a mother who was embittered against her husband, because she didn’t think she was loved. But Jacob came from Rachel. And Jacob or Joseph came from Rachel and Joseph knew that he was loved. Now part of my research when I was doing my doctoral work on was on what creates and sustains an empowering social environment, your family is a social environment. And it’s interesting to me that some of the things that empower us as leaders, that in a social environment leaders who are going to be empowering, have certain traits. Some of those same things are the things we find in Joseph’s life. So when you’re looking at establishing a godly heritage or breaking a chain and establishing a new place and a new route. Let me suggest these three things. Number one, a real sense of your own identity, a real sense of your own identity. Joseph knew who he was. That’s why he could give himself away, he could give himself away to potter’s house in the prison to the warden to the cup bear to the baker to Pharaoh, even as brothers who had failed him because he knew who he was. And that began with the fact that he knew he had a father and mother, who, who loved him and had expressed that love to him. Now there are certain traits to someone who lives with a real sense of their own identity. One is they have a have a good good sense of self awareness. Have a good sense of self awareness. What’s really going on in my life and what’s going on in my family. It took me years to realize that one of the values of my family of origin for all their good traits, one of the values of my family of origin was image. An image had affected choices that I made. Then I had to decide, do I want to live with images being upright, high, high, high priority in my family and my life? Or do I want to break that and live without a different priority? self awareness, one of the aspects of living out of your true self is the ability to laugh at yourself, to be transparent, to not be easy threat easily threatened. To understand the impact of your history on you, your own self perception, the early development of your life and and to begin to step into your own true identity. Who am I that enabled Joseph to give his life away to other people. When when he was being wronged. Now there’s a second one that hangs with that. And that is that Joseph lived in a behavior of trustworthiness. Joseph lived in a bit in the atmosphere of that, but not the attitude of trustworthiness, the behavior of trustworthiness. One of the, one of the companies in America that’s done more research on group group dynamics than any other company is Google, Google. Google does almost all their work in small groups. And because they do almost all their work in small groups, they have done more research than any other entity in the United States on what makes small group work. And you might think it’s levels of competency and a lot of other things. The number one feature of a healthy small group is psychological safety. This is a secular country. Talking. A secular company that’s built its entire, its entire foundation on small groups as psychological safety is the number one feature of what makes a small group, small entity work. And as men, we able to create, are we committed to creating an environment for our loved ones for our wives for our children of psychological safety? That we are the safest people in the room. A person who is not self aware can never give psychological safety because they can’t even predict their own behavior. They don’t even know what sets them off. If they don’t know what sets them off, in fact, usually it’s other people don’t know what sets them off. You could you could ask 10 other people and they all know but the personal self awareness it’s it’s it’s new information to them and probably just you the things that so why should I pay that much attention. He, Joseph lived with a lived out of his his own grasp of his own identity, and he lived in the realm of behavior, all trustworthiness, he could be counted on regardless of the behavior of others. And then here’s the last one. It is obvious that Joseph was relational a driven and relationship driven means we identify with the people we’re with. We identify with the people were with when he was with poverty identified with Potter fruit and Potter firs needs when he was with the cup bear and the baker in prison he identified with their needs when he was with the warden the identified with his needs when he was with family He identified with his needs when he was back with his brothers who had come to Egypt because they were starving to death here. He re identified himself with them. I come from a I come from a athletic family. And I have a I have an uncle who’s in the North Dakota it’s pretty prestigious the North Dakota Sports Hall of Fame. In which means if you go into this big gymnasium in Jamestown, North Dakota, there’s the Euro photographs and his is one of them. Though they they spent all the money they had at the at the North Dakota Sports Hall of Fame. wood frames this my my uncle room used to support his family by pitching baseball in the depression years. Remember that movie about if you build it, they will come. And they pick up that young boy who’s headed to Iowa that my uncle did that. That’s how he supported his family. baseball teams hired him to pitch. And so I come from, I come from a relatively athletic family. I didn’t really realize how how significant That was until I had a son who was not athletic. Now it turns out he was athletic, which is not athletic in any team sports, which are the big things in high schools like basketball, baseball, you know, he took up skiing and he can go down, go down mountains that I think should kill anybody who goes down that made, he just took the skiing like duck to water, but in, in, in, in school, and I wasn’t admitting to myself how that bothered me. So I’d go to his basketball games, but I’d sit in the back now in the back in circle Monday. Hannah is like six rows up. So back isn’t way back but, and I just fold my hands and I’d watch the game. And I, I, you know, and sometimes he’d get in Normally he sat on the bench and sometimes he’d get it. Now went home and I don’t even I don’t even know how I became aware of this, but I realized I was behaving as I was ashamed of him. And I couldn’t do that. He didn’t deserve that kind of behavior from his father. So from then on, I sat in the front row, which means that you’re like to step from the the boundary of the and if he got in. I made sure that somewhere in the five minutes he got the play. He would hear his father yelling his name that I wasn’t going to let that be the defining a defining featured in his life. See, Joseph was relational Lee driven, he identified but identifying with people as a choice. Joseph made a choice to identify with Potter and the warden and the bear and the baker and the feral and his brothers. He made a choice. So I hope our lesson tonight is if Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, if they had stuff to work on, don’t be ashamed, you got stuff to work on. I mean, we preach about these guys all the time. But they had something going on in their family that no man should want to have go to the next generation. And you and I, looking at the life of Joseph can break those patterns. Because I’m not what are those patterns and I’m I’m not, I’m not gonna let this go to the next generation of my family. We can identify it, we can name it, we can take a route. We can allow the Lord to work in our heart, we can allow the Lord to send other people that work in our heart, so that we develop a clear sense of our own identity. We become people whose behavior is trustworthy. And we are relational Lee driven because we identify ourselves with the people that were around. I think that’s God’s message for us today. And something he gives us as a responsibility. But it ought to be a joyful responsibility. That God gives us the capacity to change the direction of our families. So Let’s bow our heads in prayer. And then I’m going to turn it over to Doug and he’ll give us some instructions. Lord, we thank you for the honesty of your word, and how truthful you are because it always shows us that there are ways out. We thank you for the grace that you gave Joseph and how he models for us how we can break generational issues, so that our family can step out into freedom and life. I pray that according to our individual needs, and our individual histories you will help us apply this in our lives in Jesus name, Amen. Transcribed by https://otter.ai The post Breaking the Chain of Dysfunctional Family Culture appeared first on Shepherd's Heart Ministries.