I'll say what J. Vernon McGee said to me, he turned that around. I asked him one time, he's the master sort of taught through the Bible first. I said, Dr. McGee, why don't more pastors teach the Bible through the Bible? And he said, because they're lazy. And I thought about that. I said, you know, he's right to do this.
Anybody who says that's a lazy man's has never done it. You have joined us today for a special edition of Connect with Skip Heitzig. This week, we pause in our Hunting Giants series to go in the studio with Skip to celebrate his 40 years of ministry. Skip and Chip Lesko will review what's been learned doing ministry during the recent season of COVID, a presentation of the straight gospel and discuss how verse by verse Bible teaching helped the wild children of the Jesus Revolution develop a firm foundation. Now let's join Skip Heitzig and Chip Lesko as they continue their discussion for Vision Week.
Having a fine time just reflecting on the past, appreciating the future, and looking around right now what God is doing. Skip, let's talk about your philosophy of teaching. I could make the case that verse by verse teaching cemented the many wild people that who came in droves during the Jesus movement. That really gave them a foundation they wouldn't have otherwise had.
Yeah, that's probably a good way to look at it. So when I first heard Chuck Smith, it was on a cassette tape in a commune, and then I heard him live. So the thing that he did is just simply taught the Bible simply. It was verse by verse, book by book. Now I never read the Bible. I never read books of the Bible. I'd heard about Jesus because I went to a church, a Catholic church. So there was a lot of ritual, and I heard stories that the priest would tell. But I never read the Bible.
We never were taught to read the Bible. Suddenly, the Bible, which as a young Catholic I would say is authoritative as the word of God, even though I didn't know why, now suddenly this guy who's sort of like a coach or an uncle with a big smile and a baritone voice is teaching from the Bible and helping me understand what it means. So every time I would go to hear him, I go, I got to come back. I got to go. I got to get a repeat because I wanted to learn more.
Well, there are 66 books, and that's a lot. So I kept coming and kept coming and kept coming and kept coming for years. And yeah, it did something for me. And not only did it help me grow, but it became a pattern of ministry for me. Now, there were other men who did that. J. Vernon McGee, Chuck Smith would admit that, kind of did that first on the radio. He was an LA preacher, even though he's from Texas, deep Texas accent. And J. Vernon McGee would take his people on the radio through the Bible book by book. There's just something about the simplicity of what the Bible says. Because if you're a pastor and you're up there teaching, either you're teaching the Bible or you're making something up. And most, not most, but many pastors just want to be clever and come up with their own cool stuff. And it's like they think that what they have to say is more transformative and better than what God has already said. That's the mistake of ministry.
Better to just declare what God said, help people understand what He said, get them in touch with what He said, and trust that God's going to transform lives through that. That's what I've always believed. Well, I too was exposed to it in a commune called Shiloh.
And I just kept, I wonder what had happened. I mean, that, I was a train wreck and my belief systems were all over the map from those days. And getting the Bible verse by verse was a lifesaver for me. We see you every Wednesday night on the stage, on the stool, going through the Bible. Why do you call those, that audience, your tribe? Because they have the same priority that I have. I love people who come to church at any time for any reason. But Wednesday night is a group of people who want to go long and deep.
They're not there for a message. They're there for an hour of teaching or better. 30 minutes of worship, an hour of study, verse by verse, chapter by chapter, book by book. And look, that's the way the Bible is presented. Anybody can break it apart. And I see value in that. I do that on Sundays where you break it apart, paragraph by paragraph, thought by thought. You treat it differently. You treat it in a more memorable, homiletical, more topical stance. But there's something about getting a scripture of you. I call them my tribe because they love it.
They eat it up. And so do I. That's my favorite format of teaching.
If I had to give one or the other up, I would want to keep my Wednesday night. I love doing that. Look, I don't know everything going on in the church.
I don't pretend to. But my observation is that's not the trend we're seeing today. It's more and more book by book teaching. Yeah. We're seeing less and less.
We're seeing that across the board. You're seeing that at one time there were conference centers in our country that were Bible conferences and Bible conference centers. And the idea is that you would go for a week or a weekend and you would go through a book of the Bible. Everyone did it. Nobody does it now. I remember when I was at a meeting for the Cove, the Billy Graham Training Center, and Howard Hendricks was a part of that meeting. And he said, if you made this a Bible conference center, where all you do is expositional teaching, you'll be the only game in town. There's no other one in the country doing it anymore, even though at one time they all used to do it. So I believe that's an emphasis that should never be lost.
It's a priority with me. Well, one prominent leader said, book by book Bible teaching is lazy man's way of leading. All I can say is he's never done it. Wow.
And I'll give you that grenade. And what are your thoughts? I'll say what J. Vernon McGee said to me.
He turned that around. I asked him one time, he's the master sort of taught through the Bible first. I said, Dr. McGee, why don't more pastors teach the Bible through the Bible? And he said, because they're lazy. And I thought about that. I said, you know, he's right to do this.
Anybody who says that's a lazy man's has never done it. It doesn't mean read and ramble as some try to do that style of ministry. There's a real thought to it and a discipline to it. And if you've ever been exposed to good through the Bible teaching, you never forget it.
And you want more of it. No, we talked about legacy in our first program. And Paul said, I have not shunned to declare to you the full counsel of God's word. That was his legacy.
Yeah, that was his legacy. And, you know, how can you really say to people that how can you ever say to people, I've not shown to declare the whole counsel of God if you haven't taken him through the Bible. So, you know, if you don't understand, for example, the covenant that God made with David in Second Samuel chapter seven, how will you ever understand the New Testament, which opens up, this is the genealogy of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham. Well, the New Testament begins with a predication of a promise made to David unless you understand the Old Testament, how will you ever understand how Jesus fulfills being the covenant son of David.
So, you know, the New Testament authors, Jesus, the apostles, all of them, what Bible did they read from the Old Testament? So that's why I believe teaching the whole Bible, not just the New Testament, but the old. Now that takes a lifetime. You have to commit yourself to a lifetime of doing that. But why not? What a no better way to spend your lifetime.
No, I applaud that. I mean, and look, the Book of Leviticus doesn't have a lot of zippy titles in it. But if you spend time on the atonement and on the sacrifices, it really drilled down on that in the priesthood, which you might never do if you're just doing, you know, random topical studies. One of our most fruitful times of evangelism, seeing people come forward or receive Christ was a verse by verse, chapter by chapter study through the Book of Leviticus. And I remember when I had Alistair Begg out here to speak for me, and it was right in the middle of that book. And he could not believe that that many people would come out to a midweek study for the Book of Leviticus.
It just blew his mind. But I guess it depends on how you teach it, how you approach it. And if you are getting in the way of the text, or you are simply teaching the Bible simply in a way to understand the text and help make sense. Again, how will you understand the Book of Hebrews, unless you understand the Book of Leviticus, right?
There's a lot of New Testament corollaries that just presupposes that the reader is going to have a working knowledge of certain Old Testament themes. The moment we have remaining skip, let's segue to another current issue. We're coming out of COVID, time like no one's ever seen. We hope.
So far. But now, a lot of people did find church online to be very helpful. We immediately moved into that platform. But now, people are still promoting that.
And you know a big believer in turning God's word loose in a lot of platforms. But what are your thoughts about that as being the church? I think, look, we're paving or we're seeing new roads cut. We are going where no man has gone before. It is the final frontier, right? Who knows what ministry is going to be like in years ahead.
I do still believe, if I believe in the Scripture, I have to believe that getting together with God's people in the same place for a gathering of human beings is essential. Otherwise, it's like the matrix. You're just sort of plugging your brain into a feeding station and seeing images. And a lot of people, that's their spirituality. They plug into a computer.
They watch something online. And that's the extent of their growth. There's no accountability. There's no service to others. There's no letting others speak into their lives. They're curating their own spirituality.
That's dangerous. I see it as helpful, but I see it as supplemental. When I first started a Bible study in this town, it wasn't a church yet. And I told people, look, I'm glad you're here. We're glad you're here, but this is not your church. I hope you have a church and I hope you go to that church. You can come here to be fed and this can be a supplement to your church life. But I strongly believe that even though we have an online community and I want to develop it, my big hope is that it becomes a church. Now there's a number of ways you can do that. You can still have online, but you could have a watch party, which we promote.
You can get people that you invite to your office, to your home, to watch it together and then discuss it afterwards. Well, that's a New Testament church, right? They're gathering together in sort of a nascent stage New Testament church.
They're all getting the same feeding. The difference is they don't have a pastor that is present. So I do see it as a stopgap. I don't see it as the new church because I still believe that the church has to be human beings that gather together and have accountability and there's some local pastor there to do that.
So I do see it as a supplement rather than as a solution. Well, you're listening to a special edition of Connect with Skip Heitzig, a three-day conversation. And we've been talking about celebrating the past today, appreciating the present.
Skip, we're both grandfathers now. I never saw this coming, did you? Well, you know, that's life, right? That happens, but I never pictured how it would be. I didn't know it would be this fun.
It would be this good. Well, as we look around right now, I have... Look, we won the lottery being born when we were post-war America. I mean, right? Yeah. I'm concerned for my grandkids. You know, as I see, I've got to really entrust them to the Lord and you must have the similar concerns. Look, I love them. I love being with them.
I know some of the struggles they're facing, especially this year in school, all that gender stuff is starting to happen, discussions are happening, and it's disconcerting to them as people talk about them. And so I do want to nurture as much as I can their spiritual life in the time that I have left. Somebody once said, grandkids are God's reward for you not killing your children. And it was worth the wait. They're just beautiful.
They're precious. So as we look around and look forward, a lot of Christians are having their bandwidth tied up by politics and really are distraught over the direction of the country. And it's not without marriage, but would you please remind our audience that the Lord's got this?
Yeah. You know, the other night I went to a little political gathering, I was invited to, I opened up in prayer, and I won't say who was there and what's going on on a local and national level, but it just wouldn't serve this broadcast purpose. But one gal was there who's pretty well tied to the political arena. And she said, Pastor Skip, can I just ask you a question? You know, with the political climate of today, I just get so wound up every day and so discouraged. And you know, basically, her life is reading the headlines and responding to things. And I said, well, I've made it my practice.
It's a very simple practice. Every day I get up, and it's always good news before bad news. So read the Bible, the good news before you read the feeds on Twitter and the newspaper. Don't go there first.
That's your tendency. You want to keep what's going on. First, immerse yourself in the promises of God and in the plan of God, and then go to the bad news. The bad news will always be there. Just make sure that you are injecting your life with the good news as the platform before you even entertain a modicum of bad news. And so she, you know, like it was basically a first step in discipleship is what I was given her. And so she was thankful.
And she goes, I'm going to make that my practice every day now. Good advice. You know, I'm a news freak. I'm a journalism major guy. Always have that.
So yeah, I struggled with it. I've come to the place of asking myself, well, what makes headlines in heaven? So what matters on a larger scale? And one of the things that comes back to me is, well, yeah, Israel is important and the trends are all the things that God cares about, but he's concerned about the Great Commission.
That's exactly right. Speaking about headlines in heaven, in one center comes in repentance. All the angels in heaven rejoice. That's headlines. That's headline news.
One person comes. There's a great celebration. So let's keep that celebration and heaven going by winning souls here.
Because I know you and your wife, Lenny, with reload love are involved in global missions. And it's a strong, strong passion of mine. And it's possible for us to complete the translation of the Bible into every language in our lifetime. Yeah.
And in some circles, some organizations are contending that we're right there and we're months away from getting that done. I hope so. Yeah. Well, that makes news in heaven.
That's a deep concern. So Skip, you've had a standing, long-standing friendship with the Graham family. Franklin speaks here almost every year. Tell us about your upcoming plans with his ministry and crusades.
Yes. Franklin is passionate about preaching the gospel around the world and does so quite effectively in this country and around the world. Though in many other countries, just the crowds are enormous. I've been with him in Hong Kong. I've been with him in Eastern Europe and I've seen just the hunger and thirst for the simple message. Franklin just preaches like his dad, the simple life-changing gospel of Jesus Christ. And so I get to tag along on some of these and become like the team chaplain. And the team is the people who gather from the United States to do the event as well as local leadership, as well as pastors in the area. So you get several people together and that ministry team meets and I give them Bible studies. I teach them the scriptures, do devotions. That's how we start our day.
Every day Franklin does an event. He wants to begin in prayer and in the Word. That's essential to him. So he doesn't care who's there or how famous that Christian artist is.
You come to devotions and you listen to the Bible being taught and then you get on your knees and pray and he does that with everybody. And so he asked me to help with that and I'm happy to do it. Well, I'm sure you considered a high privilege to have been part of their family.
Right. I came to Christ because of his father. So it was a privilege for me to meet him, to know him, Dr. Graham, and to say thank you and to remind him that I'm one of those people that the millions that he preached to that came to Christ. And you preached to him one time.
I did. I preached to him and my message was how to do evangelism and Billy Graham was there having to listen to me. And people may not also know, Skip, that Franklin and Billy Graham did not do joint crusades very many or very often but the first one took place right here. In Albuquerque, New Mexico the very first joint Franklin and Billy Graham crusade, his history will show, happened in Albuquerque, New Mexico. That was astonishing.
It was beautiful. Now it started out as a Franklin Graham crusade. We were helping getting the backing and the organization. Suddenly Billy hears about that and goes, well, I'd like to come too. And so Franklin called me and said, now my father wants to come. Is that okay? Right. I mean, is that okay?
Yeah, daddy wants to come. So that was tremendous. Let's talk a little bit more about that, Skip, because Billy represented someone who kept his foot firmly in Orthodox preaching. I mean, no one was more consistent.
I mean, no one. And yet he was so revolutionary and experimental. He was the first to use secular TV as I recall in the 50s.
He'd go and buy ABC TV, put an ad in the newspaper and preach the gospel. And then I remember you going to Puerto Rico. Yeah, that's right. And he was doing a huge technological advance. Yeah, it was the very first worldwide simulcast of a message in Puerto Rico being broadcast all over the world in different time zones. There were places, including tents in the jungles of the world, where they had screens and televisions and people who gathered to watch and receive Christ. Now things are different.
You don't need to do the same kind of harangue to do that. But back then, that was groundbreaking. Yeah, Billy always was on the forefront of using technology to reach his generation. Well, he was a visionary, but I'm sure he wasn't coming up with all these ideas.
What I think is he had people around him. That's right. And I've always appreciated that about you, Skip. You'll give guys latitude. Let's try that.
Let's just see what happens if there's fruit. And you watch it. Well, you're one of them, Chip. Early on in the ministry, we talked about ways to reach the generation. And you said, look, I have a background in television and in radio.
I did it in the LA markets. And you living in Colorado, I was here, and we put things together to reach both markets in Colorado and New Mexico and then around the country. Well, I sense you still have that drive and that passion for what's new. I mean, I still can't wait to get here to campus every morning, Skip. If that stops, you can put me on a nice flow and send me out to the Arctic.
So I appreciate the fact that you're willing to take risks. We have a skate park over here. I mean, it's a world-class skate park. Tony Hawk showed up one day.
That was your thought. And that's just sort of a ministry vision for injecting fun into life and ministry. But also, that was at a time when the culture around here was heavily leaning toward a skateboard culture, a skate culture.
And we thought if we outfit the park with a good product and good people who know the word and can use that for evangelism, it could be. And it was a very powerful tool, and still is. But at one time, it was just remarkable. No, I mean, that pyramid thing in the middle, that was where Levi preached his first sermon.
People threw bottles at him. Wow. Things have changed. Things have changed. You mentioned, I'm intrigued about what you said about Franklin's Crusades, because we often think that revival almost has to come through America. We're 5% of the world's population.
It doesn't. It could be Africa or Europe or Asia, correct? So let me just give you a little bit of a snapshot. I was asked by the Graham Organization to come to London and do a preliminary training of pastors in the area in hopes of Franklin's Crusade in that area, which he did about a year later. So I went there, and there's like 800 pastors from the London area in that room. What I discovered is that these church leaders, a good majority of them were from black Africa, and now they're pastoring in London. So I immediately thought of the full circle that has been made, that England at one time sent missionaries out to different parts of the world who got saved, whose generations came to know the Lord, who became involved in ministry, and now they're coming back to a country, England, that has largely forsaken the Gospel. And thankfully, thank God for that mission movement that happened in England years ago to evangelize our country now. So yeah, I mean, there are people who are on fire and preaching the Gospel in South America, in Asia, in Africa, and we need them here, you know, bring them over here.
There are phenomenal works going on in South Korea. Correct. And so we have been for a while.
We are giving up on America. Of course. In fact, we're hoping that there are some media coming out now, the Jesus Revolution and the Love Song documentary. We did Riptide some time ago that reflected on the echoes of what happened in the Jesus movement.
Sure. Listen, Jesus is still moving around the world, including here, and we just have to turn up the volume and make His name great and make the Gospel more accessible. And more, not less. That concludes this discussion with Skip Heitik and Chip Lusko about the innovations of Billy Graham. For three days this week, we've heard Skip's insight gained from 40 years of ministry.
As a reminder, we are pausing our Hunting Giants series, and that will be back on Monday. Now, here's our offer of pivot point messages by Skip. Our lives rotate around crucial moments and decisions where everything changes.
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