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Abandoning Idols to Cling to God

Focus on the Family / Jim Daly
The Truth Network Radio
March 25, 2022 6:00 am

Abandoning Idols to Cling to God

Focus on the Family / Jim Daly

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March 25, 2022 6:00 am

American Idol contestant and recording artist Phil Stacey reflects on his life. From growing up in a Christian home to his time in the US Navy, then auditioning for American Idol, Phil encourages others to be true to God, to love with abandon, and to find freedom in Christ.

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Fill fullness of peace in our faith and our hope is that God is orchestrating our lives. The best part of heaven is with us today, God's presence. Bill Stacy is with us today on Focus on the Family and we thank you for joining your hostess focus Pres. and Dr. Jim Daly and I'm John Fuller, John, I think we all have dreams of some sort by member in high school thinking outside love white pro football and I think it's 2% of college athletes make up the process of I didn't realize that a small dream, but the point is get caught up in what we think the world has to offer. We forget to trust God and seek his will and he proffers three verses five through six of been kind of a life verse for me. Don't lean on your own understanding.

In all your ways acknowledge him and he will set your paths straight is been an awesome verse for me and that sometimes though it feels like I'm not working in concert with the Lord and that's Romans 828 you know were the Lord tells us he knows that all things work for our good to those who love the Lord and are called by his name, so that's hard to understand as well. Sometimes that all things really Lord, all things work for our good. Really, because it doesn't feel like that I guess today has seen that promise in his life and I'm excited to share his story with you today will be encouraged to look beyond the things of this world to love fully as he talks about in his great book and to find true freedom in Christ all agree with Jim that Phil Stacy is the creative arts pastor at city Center church in the Kansas City area and he and his wife Kendra have two girls Chloe and Michaela, you probably know him from season six of the hit Fox television show American Idol. And in addition to his musical credits. He's an author and he's really captured his life story and wonderful book called made to worship empty idols, and the fullness of God fill welcome to focus. Thank you. I'm excited to be here when they're made to worship it out.

You would not want to sing next to me to challenge that our love is there anyway I tell people in my church, your bed singing out really loud because if nothing else, it'll force the people around you drown out the sound of their know I'm thinking in the car, maybe anywhere by herself and say that I cannot let us think it's funny.

I think you know the Bible. One of the most requested gifts from God as our sawhorse music is a small aspect of what worship is but but I love it because it puts us all in unity. You know I was in the military I member doing these marches and we marched the cadences and we were just on step and yelled Christ's one prayer for the people who would believe because the testimony of the disciples was that we be one so I just thinks it's a beautiful that's great when you have the church to be one. Maybe we can all be in our own bed singing group together.

You have so let's get American Idol that had to be such an amazing hope you know I don't watch it often, but Simon visit Simon tell how is that guys mean as he seems to hundred percent but you know you know I feel like he's better comedian than he is. A critic like I just loved watching Simon before I was on the shelf. The benefit is by the time I was on I was on in 2007, so that was no six, seven years into the show and I think you know what you're getting yourself into. You know I mean like by the time you make it to the so you know you're putting yourself in a position where the man's gonna say something to at some point he criticize everybody so he's going to criticize but I thought it was fun. Let's start from beginning to grow up and what you call it musical ministry family describe that for us. What was that like my dad was as a professional musician before he came to the Lord. So he got saved in the early 70s became a pastor and basically took all his musical skills into his ministry so pre-much everywhere we went. He was sitting on the piano work or participating in some capacity but I have a brother and a sister. My mom was a great singer so she can group just together. I had like the family trio and I know it was basically learning to communicate through song is pretty much in that context how much pressure did you feel are did you feel pressured always is part of the times. There were times of it wasn't just my family, my extended time on what my mom has eight brothers and sisters in and they all have multiple children as well. So you get the family together these reunions and and everybody sang you talking the book about school in some of the difficulties you had in school. Describe those well I just I was just a little bit of an awkward kid so you know I did out I didn't have. I wasn't great at communicating outside of music. So really, I got I had a little bit of a lonely child.

I guess there's people out there that we likely you have friends and I did but it was really music that that invited people to me.

I it wasn't me going out and be like hi my name is Phil anything like that. So because of what a an important aspect music was there's just something special about seeing a fourth-grader get up and sing at the school talent thing in and he can actually hold a tune or something so everybody come up to me afterwards.

My name you know she had a lot of identity and for sure so yeah at same time. I mean you weren't doing well. I think you had to repeat eighth grade right well I did know it, yeah that's true you're right yeah I did I had to repeat the eight one point you chose art over music so obviously you're not in the math and science but I sorry wasn't in our sick at that time is really the two thugs in your heart. What right back to music after you spent some time in school doing the art. Yeah, I will you know you you get older and my whole childhood was singing and everywhere you went again see kids that can sing and everybody goes nuts over but then also number 14, 13, 14 years old. My voice is changing and I can sing anymore, so when I went to high school I had to choose. They had all the arts classes together, band, choir are all at stuff, and ultimately decided you know what my music days are behind me. I wanted to pursue this art thing and and and I loved it, but then my my sister encouraged me to do a talent competition are not in town competition, but basically a variety show with her and all of a sudden again it can open the door to a lot of friendships so now I have a ton of people saying hey you should come to inquire with us in and use company and shows with us and so it kind of opened up the door to a social life that makes it right so music once again became kind of the core of your identity and so pretty much just a common theme. I have one hammer in my toolshed know is that you have a hammer. I will think it, but let me let me ask about your dad. I thought this is a really interesting about you got a job your way to ring. I think it's in high school right is right and lot of people left early. I can remember working at a fast food place and I think I recall a scene somewhat like this were it was a light evening everyday life. There's two of this writing that's coming you're still, it was yeah it was it was monumental moments of the story begins. I'm 16 years old I get a job working as a server for village and so a lot of people going to diligence pancake house. It's pretty good size restaurant but I was awful server and to this point. Again, like I just now set up one hammer I just felt like a failure at everything. I will make you a bad server. I don't know I would drop phrase and I would just like my manager would not give me a section more than one table that you'd only bugged me to serve tables like Mondays and Tuesdays when nobody like will teach you. Eventually I spent like I just couldn't get and so finally won one of these Monday nights, he ends up scheduling me as a server but there's not really anybody in the restaurant sit around and and I started working at this restaurant is most of my friends worked there normally happened to write exactly so were sitting there and we none of us are really making a whole lot of money at this point we thought to be funny. Let's all just quit tonight. The manager literally left early so he just tosses the keys like turn the lights off, lock the doors.

We laid I mean I knew it was the wrong thing to do, but I watched as one by one all these people left and suddenly there's only three people.

If there's a host there's a cook and there's only one server you may more than one table. There is a lot more yeah and it was fine because really, there wasn't anybody coming in until like 9 o'clock at night. All the sudden you could see all these cars turning into the parking lot and white what's happening right now.

I got I just froze and also these people to start flooding into the doors and and I realized instantly that I was enough to serve these people in, and I've never served a table more than one table at a time. So my first instinct if you ever been in a situation we feel this completely overwhelmed the. Maybe you've asked God to get you out of that situation. I called my father and asked him to get me out of that situation is let dad yell at me quit.

I cannot do this and there's a pause he says will son you want to be a boy.

You will be a man.

This is the moment that's right it's like what you know.

I'd had no interest in being a man in that moment and I wanted to come home and I was like well you know what you want me to do. He said I want to do what you committed yourself to do and the pivotal moment here is that you surrender your will to your fathers, even at 16. I knew that there's nobody in the world rooting for me. Let my father's and so I'm trusting him and sound like you know what to do this are endowed by the time I get off the phone the entire restaurant is set restaurant lingo for there's a person in every single seat restaurant and there's a way to front and so I jump up on the host station on like you know it was in Amway convention was in town so all these folks came in from this and we you know that anyone coffee and pie, no stuffing. I jump up on the substation Mike and Ike advised that she welcomed village and the bad news is I'm your only server and I'm not very good. I'll take care of you the best of my ability and role like will weigh at least was a motivated Crowley's hair happy right but immediately your kind of sensing you know, this moment of like trusting in my father instantly dissipated because I didn't know what to do first and once I did go to the first table. What do I do next. I will get their drinks and come at this the order of operations. I didn't know them. My bosses in there and for some reason we didn't call and I'm just standing there just feeling so like abandoned and alone and like I'm in over my head, I can't do this when all of a sudden the front door opens up and in walks my father this is how can I help you pivotal because he was the personification of my heavenly father. Even through the night. I'm hit up stands like 3 o'clock in the morning. He served drinks for me.

He made salads he had Apsley no idea how to make and out.

But the point is, he was there and through this whole night. I'm thinking of these Bible verses are just kind of going through my head and it was like God was using it when it was a preacher. This is the best sermon ever preached to me was just his presence and the fact that he was cheering for his like the whole load was taken off of me and because I obeyed my father because I submitted my will to my father that night changed me.

First of all, I went from a guy who couldn't do this felt like a failure to like a Grand Master ninja warrior of serving tables because I had this whole restaurant you know and I went from feeling like I couldn't do something to feeling like you know what, there's nothing that impiety is awesome if if I'm working at it and then of course I prospered that night because I listen to my dad and making a killing in tips and I've been just a couple of months. A couple weeks later. Actually, they end up making an assistant manager that I mean it was it was a really cool deal. So he went from the gutter to the house and just transformation on like a high school kid with love.

It is a great story and were talking today on Focus on the Family with Phil Stacy and this story and others are captured in his book made to worship and will encourage you to click the link in the episode notes or to give us a call for your copy 800 K and the word family fill you went to Lee University. I think he became a leasing or as it's known that included making a trip to China. What happened then what did you learn through that experience. Yeah, I went to China after my freshman year in college in the lead singers is just a singing group. They have several ensembles.

At least it's a very musical schooling.

We have if you watch any musical reality show using a ton of wee students come through and if you listen to country music or Christian music you listen to the work of a lot of students and I went and I addition got into this group. Every summer we took a missions trip.

The very first one course was China and were there to do missions work and to sing gospel music and but it was polarizing to me to see how devoted so many of the religious followers of Buddhism were to their faith. So I'll go into these temples are pagodas, you'd see people with their face down on the ground or or weeping as they burned incense or something. I just got up a sense of jealousy for for God on behalf of how undedicated to worship by you know like I would sing or whatever but I just I'd never been in that posture of humility before God.

I think I'd to that point I had thought of God is almost like a buddy or a partner may be a guide in and my family we we read the Bible together every day. I was in a church. I was super involved in an on stuff but I think it was just this revelation of who God is like he's God and that's where I want to be.

It's not. I don't want to be on equal footing with him. I want to be.

I want to be his child.

You know, so just change the way that I worship him and and and my personal dedication to let's move to you meeting Kendra you get back from China and you meet your wife. It sound like was pretty fast.

Yes, of high my name's Bill, will you marry me I mean by then. Okay, so through my life.

You know I I was a follower of Christ. I think I guy went to the altar when I was seven years old. I had some you know some confusion around my face when I was in high school but out something over the course of my freshman year in college just really dreamy and I think I was truly born again in that timeframe. And of course like going to China and learning in developing a new level of of worship and devotion to Christ.

I think I was prepared and and I thought actually couple my friends on the China trip. We made jokes. It was a guy and a girl with major really jokes are like this devoted her life to missions and were never going to get married and only really apostle Paul and and those two into marrying each other.

But the day I got home. One of my friends from high school, introduced me to his girlfriend, his girlfriend's best friend was Kendra and instantly thought Eunice does a beautiful girl and she was funny, hung out with her, but that night I did go home and tell my dad asked that I met the girls gonna marry. It was her devotion to Christ. Really I mean to set her apart and knew I found a partner, let's get get into a bit of the.

The idle chatter I guess you'd call it. I don't know. I watched a bit of that. I watch the voice is and I've seen a few of those shows but it's your story a friend convince you to audition and you made it through the celebrity judges like you can talk about the process. But something was happening at home. Describe that whole adventure yeah I see by this point is 2006. My wife and I had a two-year-old daughter and she was pregnant with our second daughter like you said I missed a buddies wedding when you're in the military you miss other people's events such as what you do and he told me the only way he forgive me as if I audition for American Idol. Interesting.

Give Mr. I know it way. I mean, it was kind of a funny thing he was really mad at him. He just wanted to see me do it and it was my last year I was even eligible because I was 28 years old, but so I went to my commanding officer and I asked him for permission. And the first edition was September 2. I didn't realize that it was like cut up into different auditions of the first day of audition. You're going into this big arena. It's full people. I think you meant this with 16,000 people addition that day, so obviously Randy Paul and Simon are not to see all of those people. But they drank it out. I mean, I did meet Randy Paul and Simon till October 5 so that was over a month away and by the time that came along babies do. I was not eating to go but my wife is like you made it through Reno. Three levels of auditions you might estimate the Hollywood so that 16,000 got narrowed down the probably couple hundred couple hundred her for the three judges and sure enough, I guy come to Memphis to do my audition and my brother and my dad are with me and I get a call it like 3 o'clock in the morning it's my mom who went to go be with my wife just in case and she's like to hear anything. And sure enough in the background.

There's a baby crying and in the eye. I'd missed the baby's birth. So I go in and immediately on like I need to get home to be with Kendra but I go to the producers and I'm like hey guys I'm sorry I'm not can be will to the audition I gotta get home to. Why is it my baby was born in another like lifting the cameras and the light tells that story, you know, so they end up giving me like it.

Three minute segment at the end that audition episode. Let me go and audition first and then the material Hollywood that's great. I know if they didn't put me through. What a terrible well you Mr. baby's birth.

Sorry buddy, that's all down but going through that then what happened. We had a double elimination week when we got was the first one that was that was eliminated, but made it into basically the top five week and it was a crazy experience.

You get to meet all these celebrities that you know you grew up listening to.

We met Diana Ross met Bon Jovi, Gwen, Stephani and Jennifer Lopez and they all come out in a mentor you and you to do a lot of fun stuff like every Sunday we did these big elaborate commercials for Ford is a blast. You know you're going onset and you there get you dressed up and then you're doing all these photo shoes which I hated that all the girls just loved it that you know they do all the makeup and they bring these wardrobes.

Anything you put on your body you get stake so like they're just trying all these closing just a really interesting experience. Hollywood was another change you mean you know from what you were going into that than coming out.

Well there's a couple ways there is.

There were some healthy growth and there was there was some unhealthy stuff that happened.

So on the on the healthy side. I think that I stopped really being so consumed with other people thought of me which is weird on the show like American Idol because you're trying to appease the people back home and all this I think you know my book starts with a really wonderful thing that my wife help me see you know I member every single week and if you go there. These videos are out there on the Internet and you can see every week.

How terrified I look like my eyes are is my shaking and then there's just one week that goes to like a completely comfortable level and the thing that happened between was my wife helping me to realize that I was letting pride in the my life and you always a devoted follower of Christ. It is my I mean I was a was leading worship at a church in an 070 just opening the door some stuff in and that did play out. I did open the door to some stuff specifically on the American Idol tour but but in this moment my wife can help me realize you know even this kind of humility. The kind of humility were basically you're just worried about what everybody else thinks about you is still a form of pride because God is going to do when you're when you're following the Lord, the Holy Spirit is and empower you to do what he's called you to do so if he wants me to to win.

If he was make it cut whatever I'm submitted to him as Lord and whatever happens, he sovereign like you were talking about all things work together for the good for those who are in Christ Jesus. So no matter what happens in this experience I can trust him. My father, he know, just like I did.

My dad at Village Inn.

I can trust him no matter what happens, he's going to be with me. He's going to be there working on my behalf and so I think there was justice thing and I wish I can impart this to every follower of Christ to stop worrying so much about how you're perceived by other people that there is a real piece enjoy and just following the Lord just living for him just surrendering to his purpose and letting it play out. Just trusting that may be the Golden Nugget of the whole discussion and that really is that especially the culture today. I feel that person who feels like God has forgotten them know we talked a lot that you had an amazing journey. The Lord brought you through a lot of things introduce you to your wife rather quickly. You all that stuff you put into your great book made to worship.

But that person feels forgotten. That may be listening right now you know they're stuck in a job they really don't like you what what advice you have for them living out Romans 828. How do you stick with it, and trust that God does know where you're at. He does love you. He does care about you.

How do you get a different perspective on your life when it doesn't feel like it's going the way you felt it would, yeah, I think. I think it comes down to that point of surrendering your will to your father's and trusting, and I know that that's not easy for a lot of people, but I would really encourage that person.

If you listing the program to really dig into the Scriptures. What you find is that out of 66 books. There is not a single main character from the Bible that I would trade lives with. They had struggles, I mean were talking real struggles people that lost their entire families people that were losing their friends to persecution and martyrdom. Looking left and rhyming.

The entire book of Hebrews is written to an audience that is watching their friends die for their faith. God's sovereignty turns all those ashes into something beautiful. If you're in the part of your story that is difficult if you're in your part of the Joseph story where you were imprisoned or were you feel imprisoned or where you feel like you're the lowest of the servants or whatever. Remember that God's sovereign plan over your life is already spoken.

So if you can put your faith in what God has already spoken through his work through the Scriptures and understand the big mosaic that he's orchestrating is bigger than any of us could possibly see your faithfulness to Christ in the midst of this will be effective for generations to come. I think about how might my granddad was a pastor and he just planted little churches and he felt like he wasn't educated enough to be a pastor.

So once they could afford a real pastor they would bring somebody in but man I got to share the gospel with millions of people now because of the platform American Idol. I went around and work with all these missionaries all over the world's in the book just really cool opportunities. But every thing that I do, including this broadcast. That's an extension of that man's ministry. You know it's it's it's his faithfulness in the little things it can been easy to put up these buildings. In Kentucky you know you know almost single handedly. Some of them but look at how that's it's not just me but like so many my cousins are pastors now so many of the people on that side of the family have who have raised their kids missionaries now just incredible what God is doing through your life is bigger than you will see here but this life is just a moment and one day will open our eyes and eternity and forever fill the fullness of joy forever. Feel the fullness of peace and and are our faith and our hope is that God is orchestrating our lives. The best part of heaven is with us today, God's presence in ways that no matter what that is. Well said Phil.

It's been great having you with us and it's a wonderful moment to be able to tell you we have caring Christian counselors. If you're struggling in that area and you're not sure that God remembers who you are.

I guarantee he does but call us and let us schedule a time to have one of those caring Christian counselors talk with you that we have plenty of resources here focus to help you get a different perspective that is I think a godly perspective that gives you the peace of mind that the Lord knows you.

He loves you. He cares for you and just be faithful. I think there's nothing that puts the smile on the Lord's face like a person's faithfulness, especially a person whose feeling like there at the bottom.

I think when we can respond to the Lord in that moment it warms the heart of God that his creation loves them, despite their circumstances, and I count it a privilege is the orphan kid growing up that I could feel God's presence and love the Lord even though my circumstances were horrible and I think it does put a smile on God's face that we love them and trusted, even in those moments yeah and if you're feeling a need to talk to somebody please give us a call. You can also get a copy of Phil's book made to worship. When you get in touch. Our number is 800 the letter a in the word family 800-232-6459.

John also you know we want to get this book in your hands. We say this a lot if you can help us be part of the ministry. That's the Lord's perspective, there were all doing this together. If you can join our monthly sustainer group will send you a copy of Phil's book is our way of saying thank you for being a part of the ministry. If that doesn't fit the one-time gift will do the same for you will send a copy of the book and actually if you can afford it. When I got all the back. That's not what we do as Christians. So if you need it get in touch with us and will give it to you, trusting others will cover the expense of that and I just that again. Thank you Phil for sharing your story with us is been on.

Thank you guys for having and once again donates and get a copy of Phil's book made to worship or connect with one of her counselors were find other resources all in your website. The link, and all the details are in the show notes will have a great weekend and join us on Monday. You'll hear a heartfelt tribute to a godly dad. I totally understood God because the man was my he showed who God was. Every single day bought out everything because you know we had some imperfections to he was in Jesus and I remain very he tried his best to live according to how the Bible wants us to live on behalf of Jim Daly and the entire team.

Thanks for joining us today for Focus on the Family I'm John Fuller inviting you back.

As we once again help you and your family thrives in Christ

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