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A Conversation with Jason Lawson

Alex McFarland Show / Alex McFarland
The Truth Network Radio
March 19, 2022 12:00 am

A Conversation with Jason Lawson

Alex McFarland Show / Alex McFarland

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March 19, 2022 12:00 am

3/19/2022 - A Conversation with Jason Lawson by Truth for a New Generation

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TNG Radio, where today's culture and timeless truths come together. It's reasoned, relevant content apologetics, worldview, and answers to the questions that you need to know. From Alex McFarland Evangelistic Ministries, welcome to Truth For A New Generation Radio. And now the man who preached in 50 states in 50 days, speaker, writer, and advocate for Christian apologetics, Dr. Alex McFarland. Of all the Christian books published every year, do you know which genre sells the most?

What would you think? Would you think of maybe marriage books or parenting books? They're very important, and it's been our privilege to write some of those.

Maybe books on finance and economics. Do you know the number one category of Christian books is what we're going to talk about today. Hi, Alex McFarland here.

Welcome to Truth For A New Generation. And you know, with me here is a beloved friend and colleague, Pastor Jason Lawson, who is in youth ministry. And Jason, I want to thank you for being on the radio show. Now, you've been on our television program.

We got great response. But if I recall, this is probably the first time you've been on the radio show. Is that right?

That is correct. I want to congratulate you. You're doing great ministry at South Elm Street Baptist Church. You're working with the youth.

And I've got something else to congratulate you about. But first of all, tell us about your ministry and what you do among the people of South Elm Street. Well, I've been at South Elm now for about four months.

It's a fairly recent move. But I've known South Elm since I was a little, little kid, just been a part of that church and with their pastor. And so yeah, we work with the students, my wife and I. And we're just trying to connect teenagers and parents to God.

Let them walk that out. I will never be able to be that instrument of change in teenagers' lives. So we're trying to connect to parents and families and have family devotions and put them together and walk that out together. So it's an exciting journey. Well, you're doing the vital work, Allison, because youth ministry, you know, Angie and I, we were involved in youth ministry even before we got married.

And we still, 30 years in, love to be around elementary and middle schoolers and high schoolers. But you mentioned family. The landscape of the family is vastly different nowadays than it's ever been. And I want to commend you, brother, for doing that great work of evangelizing young people, discipling young people, but also helping instill within their heart a value for family. Yeah, you know, family you could say is really just washing away, going to hell in a hand basket or any of those things.

I refuse to stop there. I believe God can still work in the hearts of families and parents and they can still lead their families to the throne of Jesus Christ. Well, and I want to thank Pastor Lawrence Clapp.

In fact, he may be listening, but Lawrence has been on the show. And it's our joy to interface with literally 2,000 churches throughout America, hundreds of pastors and probably millions of people. But what I see God doing at South Elm Street is very, very encouraging and you're a big part of that. So I commend you, brother. But I want to congratulate you because you've got a new book out, The Potter's Hands, and it's a 365-day journey to knowing God. Now, Jason, this is your first book. Is that right?

That is correct. Well, I don't know if you knew this when you began writing or how the Lord led you to write this, but the biggest segment of Christian publishing are devotional books. Did you know that?

I did not. But I was in a meeting last week, and God's allowed me to write 18 books. I give God the glory. But my publisher said to me, he said, what we really want are devotional books because they sell the most.

So congratulations. And how long did a 365-day book, I mean, my goodness, a year, how long did it take you to write a year-long 365-day devotional? Well, it actually took me a year. It took me 365 days.

But you got to understand, I didn't set out to write a book exactly. The Potter's Hands was birthed out of a very dark place for me. It was birthed out of a panic attack that really shut my world down, and it just took me some time to come up out of that. I ended up going to some counseling, and my counselor said, Jason, you need to exercise, eat well, and find something that's going to be fun to do. And I had a new baby.

I couldn't make noise. And so I've always wanted to write a book. I was like, I'm just going to try to write a devotional a year long.

I want to do this one a day for a year. And that's really where it came out of was I was seeking God, searching for God in the midst of a very dark time in my life, and it's the outflow of a year with God. Do you know, it's funny you would say a panic attack, because I was just reading a news article about a day before yesterday. We've got the situation in the Ukraine, we've got inflation, and we've got so many things, money problems. Some of the leaders of the world are very concerned that a nuclear war could break out.

And political pundits are saying, hey, World War III, we are already in the beginnings of World War III. Not only God knows, but this article said that people are concerned, people are having, yes, panic attacks. In your own life, a dark place, was it a feeling of hopelessness that put within you such apprehension and anxiety, Jason?

Well, yeah, very much so. It was just a loss of control. That season of life, my third child was on the way. My first two were emergency C-sections, so we knew this was going to be another C-section. It was going to put me in the operating room again, which was a very nervous thing for me. My father-in-law was getting ready to have open heart surgery, which they were asking me to be kind of the pastor there. My dad, four days later, was going to have major surgery on his neck, again, putting me back in a hospital. And so it all came to a head, and I just started freaking out. I didn't know what to do. And I felt like I was a bad husband, a bad father, a bad pastor, a bad son, and everything came crashing down.

Going through this and successfully traversing a deep valley, what did it teach you about God? Wow. Well, the potter's hands. He is the potter. I am the clay. And this is not a necessarily feel-good devotional.

This is not one that's just going to be cotton candy. God is the potter. Therefore, He has the ability to make me anything He wants me to be.

He's the potter. He shapes me. And then He puts in me anything He wants. And He puts me through the fire so that I become hardened.

And then He places me wherever He wants. I don't have a say-so in that. I am just His vessel to do what He wants. And I had to come to a point where I had to determine, do I trust Him at that or not? I didn't like those panic attacks. I didn't like what I saw.

I didn't like the feelings of I'm losing control. But do I really believe God is good? Do I believe He's a good potter who's going to correct and shape me the way I need to be? And I finally came out of this saying, yes, He is. He's good. For those just tuning in, this is TNG Radio. Alex McFarland here. We are talking with just a valued friend and colleague in the ministry.

Jason Lawson and I have been friends for some time. But he's got a brand-new book called The Potter's Hands, a 365-day journey to knowing God. Stay tuned.

TNG Radio. The Apostle Peter wrote 1 Peter to remind us that Christians have true and lasting hope in their Savior, Jesus Christ. Because Jesus conquered death in an incorruptible glorified body, we can be sure that our salvation has permanence as we walk through everyday life. The Billy Graham Training Center at The Cove presents Jesus Christ, Hope That Lives, Hope That Lasts for Every Believer, a special three-day seminar with Alex McFarland. Alex will dig into 1 Peter to help you gain truths to live by and assurance to keep going. Come to The Cove near Asheville, North Carolina, July 8 through 10, for three days of in-depth Bible study, fellowship, and refreshing.

Jesus Christ, Hope That Lives, Hope That Lasts for Every Believer, a study of 1 Peter with Alex McFarland. Find out more and register at thecove.org. Are you tired of liberal agendas ruining our country, but you don't know what to do about it? That's why Truth and Liberty Coalition was founded. We want to equip you to take back our country and impact the world. Here's how we do it. We educate through broadcasts, conferences, and our website with resources that inform, equip, and motivate. We unify by collaborating with like-minded organizations like the Family Research Council, the Family Policy Alliance, and My Faith Votes. We mobilize by providing practical tools you can use to impact your local community.

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Yeah. When I had the panic attack, and it was like the bottom fell out, I went to God. I didn't have a counselor. I didn't really have anywhere to turn. So I went to God, and I was like, God, what do I do?

He led me in Isaiah, where He said, He's the wonderful counselor, mighty God, everlasting Father. I was like, what does that mean? You want to be my counselor? Am I supposed to lay down on the couch and you ask me questions? I just kind of felt like He was saying yes.

Just talk to me. That's really where this kind of began, was I was just journaling and writing out ideas and thoughts. It was day one. Then I made it through week one.

Then I made it through month one, and just all those first. So I would send it to my mom or different people to see if they would just kind of look over it and see what they thought. They really appreciated it and said they were gleaning things from it. So I just kind of said, okay, if we're able to go all the way to the end of this, then I'll send it to a publisher and let's just see what happens, what God does.

And he opened the door. Amen. Amen. Sometimes, hard times and trials, some people turn away from God. You turned more closely to Jesus. What makes the difference? Why do some turn away? Because I honestly believe trials can draw us all the more closer to the Lord.

What's the difference? Well, first off, I won't say that I did immediately turn to God, but there were times where I was shaking a fist at him. That's kind of what the idea of the potter's hands is. When you learn about making pottery with clay, when you start working the clay, there's hollow spots, there's air bubbles in there. If you put the clay in a kiln and turn the heat on, the heat will cause that air pocket to expand and will explode the clay. So a potter has to slam the clay down, has to literally punch the clay and roll the clay, getting those air bubbles out. So when it's applied to the fire, it won't explode. And so there were days where I shook my fist at God and God, I feel like I'm getting beat up and he's like, I'm working these air bubbles out of your life.

I'm getting you ready for the fire. And so the potter's hands is not just the potter. Each month is a different attribute of God. There's the potter, savior, counselor, servant, healer. And so there's just different attributes of God, titles of God and ways that he interacts in our life. And I think that's why I continue going back to God.

I have nowhere else to go. Nobody else, nothing else brings fulfillment. And nobody likes to get the air bubbles mashed out of them, but he's the one who makes us whole. He's the one who provides in the long run and he sustains us. He is my friend. He's my father.

He is personal to me. And so I can't go anywhere else. And isn't it true that some of the trials, the testing, getting slammed to the potter's wheels so the air bubbles get pushed out, that's a great analogy. We might not enjoy it at the moment, but that's the only way to become better people. I mean really is the discipline of trusting God through the hard times. I mean there's really no other way to grow and mature and become stronger. And I'm just going to say it, become more conformed to the image of Jesus. We have to consent to the testing and the purging and the cleansing of trials, don't we?

Most definitely. It really is a trust. You nailed that one. And it's also a surrender. You have to trust a God, but you have to surrender to whatever he wants to do. You're not going to fight that anymore.

And I've spent years fighting. I've tried to trust God, but I've also fought him in what he wanted to do. So this process of the potter's hands, trusting him to be good, but then surrendering when he wants to pour in the dregs or the bitterness or the whatever, trusting that it's going to be okay.

There's a reason and a purpose in it. So in the book, the potter's hands devotional book, you talk about the potter. The Bible tells us he's the shepherd. The Bible tells us that he is the counselor. The Bible tells us he's the friend that sticks closer than a brother. Do you explore these various attributes of our Savior in this devotional book?

Most definitely. That is what this is. Each month is a different attribute, and so we spend thirty, thirty-one days diving deeper, and it's all based on Scripture. So each day has a Scripture passage that we look at, and then we explore deeper what that passage is in context and what is it that God is teaching us. So he is so much more than we can imagine, we can comprehend, and so it's just a joy to dive deeper into him. The Bible says this is eternal life, that you may know him, the one true God.

So that's my hope, is that we can just get to know him. Was there anything that you didn't expect in the Word of God or in your prayer time or research for this book, some things about the Lord that you said, oh wow, didn't really know that before? Yeah, one in particular in the book of Jeremiah, when Jeremiah received his call, I always think of a calling as God's asking you to come on board with him. But with Jeremiah, there was no asking. There was a telling. God made Jeremiah to be a prophet. He equipped him. He touched him, putting words in there.

He did not remove the fear in Jeremiah's life. He said, this is what you're going to do, and don't be dismayed or I will dismay you. So truly, we think of God as a benevolent father, and he is, but he also has a plan, and he's moving forward with it. So he wants us to be there, and he's telling us how to do that. So really, I have no choice what he pours in me, whether I like it or not. He's the potter. He chooses it, and I have to surrender to that. Reverend Jason Lawson, the author of the brand new devotional book, and I believe God is going to use this in many, many lives, the potter's hands.

Stay tuned. We're going to talk more about this and how God's will can be operative in your own heart and life when TNG Radio returns. Your eighth through twelfth graders will hear from evangelist and apologist, Dr. Alex McFarland, as well as conference speakers, pro-family activists, and radio hosts, Will and Miki Addison from American Family Radio, as they share with your kids ways to effectively engage and transform the culture. Campers will also enjoy swimming, canoeing, fishing, soccer, volleyball, archery, and a whole lot more. A great summer camp of fun and faith building. The TNG Unashamed Biblical Worldview Camp, July 17th through 27th at the Refuge Camp in Aiton, North Carolina. To learn more and to register, visit alexmcfarland.com. Have you ever wanted to raise your hand during a sermon?

Well, here's your chance. Hi, Alex McFarland here from the nationally syndicated radio program, Exploring the Word. For more than ten years, my cohost Bert Harper and I have taught scripture and answered hundreds of Bible questions. We've compiled a brand new book of the top 100 Bible questions from listeners of all ages, from questions about supposed Bible contradictions to apologetics facts that prove the truths of scripture. This new book features practical content that will make the Bible come alive for you.

Can we really be sure that God exists? Are there contradictions in the Bible? I need a book that will help me understand the Bible better. There's so much good content in this book.

100 Bible questions and answers published by Broad Street Publishers and available at your local bookstores and also through resources.afa.net. In the midst of a culture obsessed with relativism, Alex McFarland is a voice you can trust to speak the timeless truths of Christianity in a timely way. You're listening to Truth for a New Generation radio. Welcome back to Truth for a New Generation, Alex McFarland. We're going to resume our conversation with Jason Lawson, but I want to advise you, if you would please check out the brand new Alex McFarland website, just newly redesigned.

We've got a lot going on. Our youth camp is coming up this summer, July 17-22. Now there's going to be horseback riding and fishing and hiking in the woods and ropes course, all that fun camp stuff. But our theme this year is Unashamed, Building Your Biblical Worldview. This is summer camp with apologetics, defending the faith.

It's for middle school and high schoolers. We call it summer camp for your soul, building a biblical worldview. And obviously we're going to do all the fun camp stuff. We're going to talk about what does it really mean to be a believer? What does it mean to have a relationship with Jesus Christ? But then we're going to be talking about the things that have shipwrecked many of the faith of young people. Once you go to college, what about evolution?

What about relativism? What about secular humanism and really the militant socialist progressive worldview out there that has caused many a young person to drift away from Christ? And so it's the TNG annual summer camp biblical worldview July 17-22. There is still time and yes there are scholarships.

And let me just say this. If you would like to scholarship a young person, look from insurance to programs, the whole nine yards, it costs us $91 a day to send a young person to camp. The last camp that we did a year ago we had 87 youth from about 10 states. Guess how many made a decision for Christ out of 87?

87 did. Some came to Christ. Some came back to Christ. All committed their lives to the gospel. So maybe you would like to give a tax deductible donation and help us. $91 a day and we can accommodate hundreds of youth. So please pray about what we're doing.

This is about God and country. We do need your help. The Ministry of Truth for a New Generation, we've been face to face in front of more than a half million teenagers. Every day of the week, seven days a week, we are talking to one and a half to five million listeners. You're helping us do that.

Partners like you. So please pray and please be a part of what we're doing for the gospel in our nation. Well somebody else who's a beloved friend and colleague God is using in a great way is Jason Lawson, minister to students South Elm Street Baptist Church in Greensboro.

But let's talk with the time we have left about listeners because everybody listening regardless of their status in life, look we're either on a mountaintop or in some kind of valley or on the way to a valley or coming out of a valley. People often ask, what is God's plan for me? How do I know God's will? So I'm going to start this part with a question. What is God's will for a person? That's an incredible question. I think it's kind of the question. And I think when most people ask that question, they're asking what is God's career path for my life? What does he want me to do?

That's not the right question. I don't think really where we're aiming at is the day to day, 24 hours, what does God desire? And I think he desires a relationship with us. He desires us to walk with him.

When you walk by a flower and he goes, hey let me tell you about this flower. I took special care on this one. I think that is his will for our life. If we're doing that, then the career, the person we're supposed to marry, where we're supposed to go to church, where we're going to go to college, all those things will work out because we're just walking on his heels. We're following him. We think so much about what we do and what we have. Jason, is it fair to say what God cares about most is who we are?

Certainly. He created us. Therefore what we are is we're his. We are his fingerprints. We're his workmanship. Created in Christ Jesus for good works that he planned beforehand.

That's his heart on display for all to see. So yeah, his will isn't so much of the doing but just the being who he made us to be. Do you know, I love it in 2 Corinthians 1, 3-5, where it says, God is God of all comfort who comforts us in all our trouble that we may be able to comfort those with the same comfort wherewith we ourselves were comforted by God. Now you went through a valley. You learned a lot of things about the Lord.

You've put it down on paper and the very same way that Jesus carried you, this is going to bless the reader who goes through this. Isn't it amazing that for the Christian there is purpose in suffering? There's purpose in pain and if we'll let him, even from our hardest times, God will bring something good out of it. Is that fair to say?

Definitely. I think a lot of times when we get hurt, we want that instant fix. But God doesn't fix us. He heals us and that is a process of walking with him over time. That hurt becomes healed. What greater thing could we possibly do than just allow him to be the medication that is put on the wounds and healed stronger than it was before to new life, a new heart, new voice, new songs.

I think that's what God desires for all of us. We don't have a lot of time left. We've been talking with Jason Lawson. He's the author of the brand new devotional book, The Potter's Hands. Beautiful book, hardcover, incredible.

Not only beautiful packaging, but best of all, the content inside. Jason, a final thought. Do you have a word for the one, maybe somebody listening and they say, look, I'm in a rough place. I just feel empty right now. Is there any hope for me?

Jason, what do you say? There is definitely hope for you. There is hope and it is sitting right there in front of you and it's Jesus Christ. The whole goal of this is not to give a bird's eye view of your entire life and how God's going to use the cracks and the breaking points of your life.

The whole purpose of this is just to find the fingerprints of God, is to take you into the very, very close view of just God at this moment and that is enough and can you trust that? We often say this, people, that Jesus is as close by as a prayer and he really is. In John 6 37, one of our favorite scriptures, the Lord said, now listen to this, because friends, this is for you. Jesus said, the one who comes to me I will in no way reject.

Isn't that something? Christ is saying, look, no way, I'm not going to do that. I will not turn you away if you'll come to me and the way you do that, you open your heart, you turn to Christ and say, Lord, I need you and he'll come to you. If we can help you in any way, we've got a booklet. A quarter million people have been given this little booklet, What Does God Say About My Relationship With Him.

It's a PDF on our website as well. Look, we're here to help you in your walk and your witness, as Jason Lawson would say, and I'm saying, Jesus loves you. Jesus is for you. And we encourage you to turn to him today. Call us at 877-YES-GOD-1.

That's 877-YES-GOD and the number 1. Or give online at AlexMcFarland.com. While you're there, listen to program archives, read Alex's blog, invite Alex to speak at your event, or contact Alex with a question or comment. AlexMcFarland.com. Thanks for listening today and join us again next time for more Truth for a New Generation on TNG Radio.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-05-20 19:53:35 / 2023-05-20 20:04:34 / 11

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