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Holy Ambition | Chip Ingram

Building Relationships / Dr. Gary Chapman
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June 11, 2022 1:00 am

Holy Ambition | Chip Ingram

Building Relationships / Dr. Gary Chapman

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June 11, 2022 1:00 am

“There has to be more to life than I’m experiencing.” If you feel that way, don’t miss this edition of Building Relationshipswith Dr. Gary Chapman. Author and speaker, Chip Ingram says a fulfilled and satisfying life is one lived on the edge. But what does that mean? Could there be a purpose and plan for you that’s bigger than you can imagine? Learn more about your “holy ambition” on today's podcast. 

Featured Resource: Holy Ambition: Turning God-Spahed Dreams into Reality

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I think we've somehow been led to believe in the celebrity culture that, you know, there's people that are so much more wonderful, and they don't have our problems, and they're so much smarter, and so much more holy, and I think those are rose-colored glasses. Where people live right now, in their relationships, with their struggles and their problems, God is really preparing them to do a great work. Welcome to Building Relationships with Dr. Gary Chapman, author of the New York Times bestseller, "The 5 Love Languages" . Today, teaching pastor and CEO of Living on the Edge, Chip Ingram believes God has a purpose and a plan for your life that's bigger than you can possibly understand.

If you need some hope, don't miss the conversation straight ahead. He is one of my favorite people on the planet, and our featured resource is Chip's book, Holy Ambition, Turning God-Shaped Dreams into Reality. You can find out more at

Click the Moody Radio icon there, and you'll find it at And Gary, I think if I would have asked you 30, 40 years ago if God had a purpose and a plan bigger than you could understand, you would have agreed with that, but you would have had no idea all that He was going to do. Well, Chris, you're exactly right. You know, I had plans of some things I thought God was going to do in my life and through my life. Some of those doors were closed rather strongly, and God directed me in other areas. But yeah, bottom line, I could never have dreamed that God would bring into my life all the things He has and use me in the way that He has. So, you know, this whole topic, I think, is a great topic, and I think our listeners are going to find it to be encouraging for them individually to keep open to what God might have for them. Yeah, the whole idea of surrendering to Him and His will.

Well, let's talk with Chip Ingram about it. He's teaching pastor and CEO at Living on the Edge, pastor for more than 30 years. He's the author of a lot of great books, including the one we talked about about a year ago, Yes, You Really Can Change. Our featured resource today is Holy Ambition, Turning God-Shaped Dreams into Reality. You can find out more.

Just go to Well, Chip, welcome back to Building Relationships. Thank you, Gary. And all I can say is I'm really glad whatever plans you had for yourself, that you ditched those and followed God's, because I will tell you, "The 5 Love Languages" was a rescuer in my marriage, and I have stolen that material. And as I became more humble, I gave you all the credit later.

I've used that to help so many couples in all of its variations. So thank you, my brother. Well, it's been exciting to see how God has used that book to touch so many lives, far beyond my expectations, to be sure.

Well, for those who aren't familiar with Chip Ingram, I don't know who that would be, but give us a flyover of your life. What has God done in your life over these years? Well, you know, I grew up in a non-Christian home, and my dad was a great athlete, World War II. But out of all that, became an alcoholic, and fairly functional until near the end, and then a real crisis in our family where he quit, but became a Christian about two or three years later. And out of that produced, I think, a pretty insecure, driven, kind of, I got to prove I'm okay.

And so I worked really hard and figured out how to, you know, kind of get good grades and get a basketball scholarship and try to find my identity and, you know, a pretty girl, good grades, and sports. And it just was a dead end, Gary, and thank God for the fellowship of Christian athletes. I kind of achieved, you know, all my tiny little dreams looking back by the time I graduated from high school and went to a FCA camp and saw the gospel, was introduced to the New Testament. Even though, you know, I had some experience with church, but it was a really negative experience.

And then I went away to college and met a bricklayer trained by the Navigators, and I was a slow grower. But eventually, I really saw in his life that I really wanted to follow the Lord. And he began to surface a little bit of a teaching gift, and we did college ministries. And so I became a school teacher and a basketball coach and played basketball overseas with some different teams sharing Christ throughout the Orient and South America, and saw the world, Gary, and realized, I guess you don't have to be much smarter than me or much more holy.

God's looking for just regular people. And I just told him I'd do whatever he wanted me to do and came back home. And little by little was moved to go into full-time ministry and pastored a little church in Texas, started with about 35 people for eight years, and the Lord blessed that, and then went to Santa Cruz. And that was culture shock, you know, super progressive, new age. But it's there that God kind of birthed the ministry, and we ran out of room. So a businessman put the messages on the radio, and sort of the rest was history. And like you, I mean, I never dreamed any of that would happen.

But, you know, once some things got on the radio, actually it was moody. And this book that we're talking about, Holy Ambition, was the very first book I wrote. And that was 20-some years ago. And the chance to sort of redo it and share the stories of how God has taken that message in my life and so many others has been a real joy.

Yeah. You mentioned the Navigators. They had a tremendous impact in my life, actually. I lived in a Navigator home my senior year in college. I went to the Navigator summer training program when I graduated from college. So, you know, those associated with that organization have done a tremendous, have had a tremendous impact on so many lives through the years because they're just dealing with the basic nitty-gritty of daily living life with God. So it's encouraging to hear that you had contact with the Navigators. We have parallel stories then, Gary, because I actually went to a couple training programs, and I lived in the garage apartment behind the bricklayer.

And because he did it with me, then I had two guys live in that apartment with me. But I will say, as much as I've appreciated, and I'm sure you as well, you know, theological training, having that experience with that bricklayer who helped me personally grow was probably the most influential thing that's ever happened in my Christian life. Yeah.

It's been my dream for everybody to have some people in your life that help you grow in the nitty-gritty, like you say. Yeah. And after all, Jesus did say, go and make disciples. He didn't say, just share the gospel. He said, make disciples.

And a discipler is a follower of Jesus. And so, yeah. Amen. Well, that's interesting. But now this new edition of Holy Ambition, the introduction to this book is written by Jenny Allen, who's a New York Times bestselling author herself. This concept made a big impression on her. Can you tell us that story?

It's a great story, Gary. You know, for those not familiar with her, she has a thing called the If Gathering. And I think the last time they met, there was a million women in 140 countries. And she's a great communicator and a passion for helping women, and especially young moms, really grow and disciple their kids. And so I was at a pastors conference, and my two daughter-in-laws, two of the three of them, every time we got together, it was Jenny Allen, Jenny Allen, Jenny Allen.

And each of them led. She has it where all over the world, actually, you know, someone will kind of host it in their area. So one daughter-in-law is doing Santa Cruz, the other San Jose. So I'm at a pastors conference, and she's speaking, and I'm thinking, I'm going to see if I can get a book signed for my daughter-in-laws.

I'll be a hero when I get home. And so I went over and talked with her, and then she looked at me kind of funny, and she said, do you know my story? And I said, well, no, not really. She goes, well, you came, and she told me a story of how I met her husband when he was in seminary, and he came out and spent a couple days with me. But he said, you know, that series that you taught, Holy Ambition, and then, you know, it was a book, but, you know, we listened to the cassette tapes for hours and hours. And she said, I never felt like God could use an ordinary person like me, and if so, how would it happen? And she said, my holy ambition turned into the if-gathering in discipling women, and I would never have dreamed. And since that time, we've had her on our radio program, we've partnered in some events together. And so I said, Jenny, you know, I would have never dreamed.

I'm so honored to get to be a part of anything in your life. But that's the story of Holy Ambition, Gary. It's really a study of Nehemiah that helps ordinary regular people discover and then deploy what I call the God-sized idea or dream that he puts within them. And unless we just misrepresent, that doesn't mean you have to be famous or write a book or start a ministry. I mean, God has a place for each one of us that I think he whispers into our heart.

And this is following that pattern of how do you turn that from an idea or an intention or a desire into reality? So, you know, it's exciting when you see individuals respond to God in that manner and to see what God does through them. Yeah, I shake my head, Gary, because I think sometimes, you know, I didn't grow up as a believer.

And in my particular sort of branch of Christianity, and I don't mean it negatively at all, it was sort of like the, it was very beautiful church and all the kind of the heroes, the disciples were all in stained glass. And, you know, I had this impression that, you know, there were people that were just awesome and amazing and holy and didn't have struggles like me. And they just, God seemed really distant, like, you know, I guess he made the world, but does he even know my name? And as I opened the Bible for the first time, it was like this shock of ordinary people. You know, Rahab's a prostitute and James and John have anger management issues and Peter's a big mouth and David commits adultery and Paul, you know. And all that, it was just this realization that God uses ordinary people even in the midst of our flaws. But there is a path to follow. And I didn't know what that was until I opened the Bible.

And I think Nehemiah gives us just such a great picture of God's pathway when he wants to work in us first and then he has a purpose for all of us. And discovering that and getting to be a part and accomplishing it is just, I think it's like the greatest thing in the whole world. You know, other than just purely knowing Jesus, discovering what he made you to do and getting to be a part of it is better than all the money in the world. It's better than all the fame in the world.

It's better because it's what we were made for. Today on Building Relationships with Dr. Gary Chapman, we're talking with author and speaker Chip Ingram of Living on the Edge. Our featured resource is the book Holy Ambition, Turning God-Shaped Dreams into Reality. Find out more at

Click the Moody Radio icon when you go to Now Chip, you say in the book, and I'm quoting, God is looking for people who are willing to live on the edge. What does that mean? I think the edge is where life happens. I think we're all prone to want to be in a place of comfort and security.

And I don't mean silly or crazy or irrational living on the edge or you have to hang one-handed off of cliffs. But I think there's this moment where without faith, it's impossible to please God. And if there is no risk, there is no faith.

Faith is that absolute certainty of what I can't see. I think God is looking for people who would hear what is on his heart and dare to believe that he could actually use them to accomplish something that's on his heart. And usually it's something that honors God and meets some very real needs. And our hearts get dislocated. I mean, we all hurt or see things that either make us really angry or make us really sad. And I think God's looking for people who would say, are you willing to move out of what's comfortable for you?

And are you willing to get out there on the edge where it feels risky and maybe at times even a little bit dangerous, uncomfortable for sure? And I think that's when we're positioned to be used by God and we see him show up because he's doing what we can't do on our own. I think a lot of us can identify with that. You know, if you look back on your life and realize some things that God put on your heart and you thought, ooh, I don't think I can do that. The reality is we can't do that, right, by ourselves.

That's exactly right. I don't think if anyone have told you, Gary, you're going to be an author and then you're going to counsel people and millions and millions of people are going to connect with God and with one another and see marriage is healed. And I think if he laid all that out in front of you, I think you probably would have turned around and go, well, I don't know who you're talking about.

That's not me. But what happens is you take the baby steps, right? And you take that risk and then you take the next one and you wake up a few decades later and you think, wow, what an amazing thing God has done. And I think that's the story for everyone, Gary. My heart is for all of us regular people. I think we've somehow been led to believe in the celebrity culture that there's people that are so much more wonderful and they don't have our problems and they're so much smarter and so much more holy.

And I think those are rose-colored glasses. And I'm just so excited to partner with you to help people realize where people live right now in their relationships with their struggles and their problems. God is really preparing them to do a great work. If they get that picture, that reality in their mind, then they're open. You know, when things come to their mind, they're open to the possibility, hey, well, maybe God could use me to do that. And I think, Gary, the thing that happens is the moment that starts to get birthed, we're just humans, so we just run to, well, I'm inadequate. I don't have what it takes. I mean, that would require. And the moment we start thinking about all that would be needed to actually do it, I think most what I call holy ambitions or dreams or ideas God give us, they die.

They die right there. And I'll never forget, because of our mutual relationship with the Navigators, one of the things that helped me the most was memorizing Scripture. And it took me a while to get going, but once I got going, I found there were just times where a verse would just pop off the page, and I thought, oh, I really want to get a hold of that one. And in 2 Chronicles 16, 9, I remember reading about this king, Asa's life, and it's a judgment passage, but the prophet comes to him, and he says, for the eyes of the Lord go to and fro throughout the whole earth, that he might strongly support those who are fully his, those whose hearts are fully his. And I remember reading that and thinking, what would it be like if God strongly supported you? And I remember thinking, wow, his eyes are going all across the globe at this moment, up and down aisles and churches and over houses, way bigger than a drone. He can see into every heart, every person, and he's just looking for an ordinary man or woman or student whose heart is fully his, and then he promises, I'll strongly support you.

He'll give us whatever we need. And that verse was really the one that birthed the holy ambition in my life, to think, well, I can't do it, but if my heart was fully God's, then he would support me and give me wisdom or staff or resources or opportunity. And so that became sort of the anchor or the beginning of how the holy ambition of my own life got birthed. It's amazing how God uses a particular verse or a couple of verses in the Scripture, different junctures in our lives, to really motivate us to move in his direction.

Yeah, because I think when we get afraid, which is normal, is we just hang back or we think that's for someone else. And I remember actually teaching at Moody Founders Week for the very first time, and I was petrified. I just thought, what am I doing here? You know, I'd been there as a young pastor and some of the people that had huge impact in my life, like Howard Hendricks and others, and I thought, what am I doing here? And Joe Stoll became a friend and like an older brother, and he invited me to come.

And my wife said, I've never seen you so nervous in your life. And two or three founders weeks later, a couple of guys from Moody said, hey, would you like to have lunch? And I said, well, sure. And I was dressed real casually, and I just thought we were going to get a hamburger or something.

And well, pretty soon we're going up to the, I forget what the name of the building is, but it's really, really, really tall, and there's a restaurant up there. And we sat down and they said, we really think that God's working in your life and that you should write a book. And I remember thinking, I mean, that same feeling.

You've got to be kidding me. I could never write a book. And I said, well, what would it be about? And I'll never forget. They said, we found that the first book you should write ought to be along the lines of what's your life message?

I said, oh, that's easy. I've been studying this guy, Nehemiah, and God promised he'd strongly support me. And I think there's six characteristics of knowing whether your heart is fully his.

And if your heart is fully his, he'll do whatever you need. And Holy Ambition got birthed out of that lunch with a couple guys from Moody in the publishing department. It's always interesting how God uses different people in different settings to stimulate the next move in our lives. Let's talk a bit about that word, Holy Ambition.

I mean, that's the name of the book. That's the heart of it. So sometimes people think of, Christians especially, think of ambition as being something negative. You know, you want to become somebody. What do you mean by that term, Holy Ambition? Well, I love the actual definition of ambition is a strong desire to do or achieve something. Typically requiring determination and hard work.

So like in and of itself, it's not a bad thing. But when you go down in the dictionary, it goes on to say that the next sort of part of the definition or another definition is the desire and determination to achieve success, fame, usually accompanied by power and wealth. And I think selfish ambition, ego, look at me, how many likes do I have? How many followers do I have? What kind of clothes do I wear? What kind of car do I drive? How many letters are behind my name? Where did my kids go to school?

Did they make the traveling team? You know, the scripture is really clear in Philippians 2 that we're to do nothing from selfish ambition, or I love that vainglory, like making yourself the hero. But the fact of the matter is, Gary, I don't think there's enough Holy Ambition.

People with the same level of intensity and determination would say, there's so many needs in the world. I long to do something great for God. And I struggle with that, because God was putting some, you know, I was in a tiny little church, but he was putting these really big dreams on my heart. And I remember going to a mentor who was the pastor of a large church in Dallas area at the time. And he kind of put his arm around me and said, look, Chip, God really is looking for people that would be willing to dream some great dreams.

And he said, believe me, he can keep you humble. But let me encourage you, let me encourage you, if those dreams are all about you, if you're willing to step out and really fully surrender, God will show you, and he'll bring good people into your life. And I remember this dream that he put on my heart and that the church could really be different, because my Christian experience or pseudo-Christian experience was so negative. I was turned off from God, Christianity, the church. And if I had not met some genuine believers, I think I would have just assumed, boy, Christianity is a bunch of hypocrites.

All they do is want your money. People say one thing, they live another way. And as God put that dream on my heart, a holy ambition got birthed. I think the Lord is looking for men and women who would say, you know what? All these kids suffering in foster care in my community, that shouldn't happen. All the people that are being trafficked in the sex trade, all the refugees that can't speak the language and have nowhere to go and someone needs to love them, all the kids that are struggling, all the moms that find themselves pregnant without a husband and wonder what to do, there's mammoth needs. And as I read the New Testament, Gary, the early church seemed to be ordinary, regular people who would say, we have to move in and help them the way Jesus does. And when that happens, God works. He strongly supports. Lives change.

And it happens just little ripples at a time. I think back to my life and I'm sure in yours, that bricklayer was a high school educated actual mason bricklayer. Hands were rough, but I watched him date his wife. I watched him raise his kids. He met with me in the mornings and taught me how to read the scriptures and share my faith. And what I knew was he wasn't very cool, but there was something about his life that someday I wanted to be a Christian like Dave, I wanted to be a husband like Dave, I wanted to be a father like Dave. And I saw his faults.

He didn't have it all together. But I just think that's how it really works. And my dream is that people would begin to ask, what is it that God would put on my heart or what's he already put on my heart that would make a real difference in the world? And it sure seems like if there's ever a time the world needs it, it's right now.

Yeah. Chip, what if there's somebody listening right now who just in what you've said in the last 20 minutes or so, there is this thing that is stirring inside of them and they've been having this dream for a long time of, I don't know, a crisis pregnancy center or something through the church or teaching Sundays. I don't know what it is. What do you say to that person who's mulling that over right now as they listen to you? What I would say to them is God whispers and bursts things in our minds and our hearts. We can't do everything, but there's some things that burden you that don't burden other people. And often it'll come out of your pain or your woundedness, your family of origin, maybe a betrayal. What I found, what I would say to people is what is it that just makes you want to cry because it's just so painful to watch and it should be changed?

Or what is it that makes you so angry because it's so wrong? I would say you take that and you bring it before the Lord and say, Father, I want to be a part of seeing that changed. I don't know what to do.

I'm only one little person. But if you would show me what the next step is, I'll take whatever next baby step you show me and I will guarantee this, the God of heaven who's so filled with love and mercy and compassion is longing, leaning forward, if you will, to begin to show us what the next step is. And actually this book is really how to discover what that is on your heart and then what are the steps that are pretty consistent for all of us to turn that beginning thought, that passion, that concern into something that gets translated into real reality and helping people. Thanks for joining us today for Building Relationships with Dr. Gary Chapman, author of the New York Times bestseller "The 5 Love Languages" . You can find out more about your love language and simple ways to strengthen relationships at You can listen to the stream or download the podcast right there.

Just go to Chip, before the break, you mentioned six key components in developing a life characterized by holy ambition. Why don't you give us an overview of those six?

I'd love to, Gary. The historic situation is this. Nehemiah is the cup bearer.

Persia is the world empire. And Nehemiah is a Jew and as a cup bearer, yes, he tastes the wine and the food so that if it's poison, he dies instead of the king. But it ended up being a person with huge influence and he had great leadership gift and it also allowed him to live in the lap of luxury. I mean, he had influence and affluence.

He lived in a palace. And the story opens up with his brother coming back from Jerusalem and because of the sin and idolatry, I mean, every agenda, every promise that you could think of in your mind about to Abraham and Isaac and Jacob, it looks like it's done. I mean, if we were in a time machine and we could just pop up into Jerusalem in this day, it would be, I mean, the temple worship's not going well, the walls are broken down, the gates are burned by fire.

I mean, everything's a mess and a couple of others had gone back to try and restart things but was very faltering and it's hundreds of miles away. So he's in the lap of luxury and he hears the report and this is a dislocated heart. His response to the evil in the world and the faltering of God's agenda was he sits down, he cries, he fasts and he prays. In other words, so his body is in the capital of Persia, Susa, but his heart is dislocated because God's agenda. So he uses his influence and affluence and for the next four months, he goes through the second part of the process.

A dislocated heart compels us out of our comfort zone. The next one is a broken spirit. And rather than jumping in and saying, hey, I'm smart and I know the king and I can make this happen, we get one of the greatest prayers in chapter one in all the scripture and where he gets this high view of God and accurate view of himself and he repents of his sin and he has this broken spirit where he goes, I'm totally inadequate, I can't do this, I'm one man. But then he comes out of it with this prayer that says, but these are your people and your promises and this is what you said that you would do. And so God works deeply in us before he works significantly through us. Then after four months, we find from that prayer that he ends up with a small group because he started praying alone and then it goes plural, we're praying, and God moves him and he says, Nehemiah, you're going to be part of the answer. So he goes in front of the king and there's a little bit of history here, but to go in front of the king sort of with a sad face, everyone's job was to make the king happy. And so the option could have been execution.

What are you doing? But he was a trusted person, so he takes this third one as radical step of faith. I mean, he risked his life for God's agenda and the king says, yes, okay. So he sends him to Jerusalem and gives him money and Calvary and all the rest.

And so you have a dislocated heart that leads to a broken spirit. He takes a radical step of faith and then he gets there and what you realize, it's not all about the heart, is that he looks at what's the damage of the wall and who are the leaders and who are the power players and what are the problems in the past and he develops a strategic plan. And it's amazing.

He didn't go to Harvard Business School, but some of the best leadership teaching in all the Bibles right there about strategic planning and how it gets birthed and how you cast the vision. And after he does that, the people rise up and they say, yes, let's build it. And we see this miracle in 52 days, Gary, they rebuild the wall. But what he does in chapter three is he helps every single person find their spot on the wall out of their vested interest and out of their gifts.

Some repair things, some build things. And then what you see there is there's a personal commitment. And then after that, you see this revival happen and amazing things start to happen. But this is the big warning. The last one is a courageous soul because it only takes one, two, three chapters in Nehemiah to give us the first five characteristics. And then it takes three more chapters to tell us about a courageous soul because then there's external opposition. Then there's internal conflict within.

And there's a plot to assassinate him. And so what I tell people is God will whisper in your heart and he'll give you the dislocated heart to meet a need. And then he'll take you to the process of a broken spirit where you humble yourself. And then you'll end up taking at some point a radical step of faith to say whether it's geography or career or job or being willing to get up in front of a group of people, whatever. And then you develop a plan. And often he brings people into your life that are better at that than you. And then you make a personal commitment and help everyone find their role. And then when you do that, God really begins to work.

And Gary, I hate to say this, but it almost always gets worse before it gets better. But then you get to reap the reward and that's the journey he takes them on. And if we would get in that time machine and go fast forward past the time of Nehemiah by about 30 to 50 years, we see God reignites the plans and the promises that lead to Messiah because a regular, ordinary guy, he wasn't a king, he wasn't a priest, he wasn't a prophet. He was a businessman who had some leadership gifts, who was willing to leave the lap of luxury to make a difference in his world. And I think that's a model for us, especially as Americans.

Yeah, yeah. You know, that idea of a dislocated heart. And what I'm hearing you say is, it's that God puts something on your heart that's a deep, deep concern for you. It may not be for people around you, but for you, it's there. And you're doing something now, all of us are doing something now, but it's something different. It's a need that you see and you feel like God leading you to that need. Where does that start in the heart of a Christian? Because we're all so just actively involved in whatever it is we're doing now.

How does that dislocated heart happen in a person's life? You know, I think one is, it starts by asking maybe a bigger question. Gary, you and I have lived longer than most people listening to us. And I think something happened in the church along the way where Jesus became sort of the self-help guru to make our lives happy and our marriages wonderful, our kids to turn out right or solve our singleness and help us be upwardly mobile and sort of a consumeristic concept. And I think it starts when someone asks the question, not what can God do for me to make me happy, but when we ask the question, what's my purpose?

Why am I here? For someone like my wife, for example, who came from a very challenging home and went through some horrendous things afterward, her dislocate at heart has always been for marginalized women. And I can't even tell you the scores and scores of women that have sat around our table or needed a place to live for a while or she has mentored and it's not upfront, it's not famous.

The second was her dislocated heart was for children and to raise kids since we both came from alcoholic families that would be far, far different. I think sometimes it comes out of our work. There's a guy here in San Jose that went through this process and he was a DA and spent 20, 25 years putting young men in low-income areas in jail for stealing and robbing and addictions. And he went through this and he retired early and got a team of people together and dreamed a dream and started a charter school at the junior high level to turn those kids' lives around before they got into it. Another fellow who went through this process with us was just so burdened for orphans and he's an Asian who came from Southeast Asia and he's launched orphanages in the Philippines. And for other people it's been the foster care system. We have a fellow that dreamed a dream and realized that the statistics are astronomical that once a person gets in the foster care system, it's like 70 to 80 percent of all the people in prison were in foster care at one time. And it doesn't mean it's bad or wrong. Some people have to be there, but the more that you can keep intact families.

And so he, with a team of people, developed ways to meet needs for families through the churches all across America to help kids. And so I think it just happens with a first question, Lord, thank you for saving me. Now, I'm uniquely made. I have a unique background.

I grew up in a unique home in this season of history in this country or some other country. What do you want me to do? What have you put on my heart? What's that Ephesians 2 10 purpose that you saved me and prepared me for from the foundations of the earth? And so I think it's asking that question and then socializing it, you know, talking out loud and getting in touch with what does make you sad, what does make you angry.

And one of the things we've done with multiple groups is we have this in a small group format and then with some business people, we have a thing called Prime Movers where they go through this for a few months together, processing, talking, praying, and actually forming their team and coming up with their strategic plans. And it's just been so exciting to see people experience, this is what I was made for. And the joy, I mean, Jesus' words give and it'll be given unto you good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over back into your lap for by whatever measure we give it, it comes back to us. And I think we pastors sometimes make the application, you hear that quoted a lot, as though it's a financial passage.

It certainly may apply to finances, but in context, it's not a financial passage, it's a kingdom principle. And that's our heart's desire with this book and I know with your ministry, to help people learn to give their life away and in losing their life, they find it. Chip, as we begin this last segment, I hope our listeners, especially those who are in the middle of the process of growing in their relationship with God, but really have never got to the place where they're saying to God what you said earlier, you know, Lord, what is on your heart for my life?

You know my background, you know where I am, you know the time in which I live. You're opening yourself up when you come to God with that kind of prayer. And as you mentioned, God has something for every single one of us. It's not the same thing, to be sure.

And to other people, it may not be significant, but to you, it is hugely significant, because God has put that on your heart to move out. The broken heart thing and the broken spirit, when you really do get a vision, there is that sense, is there not, that Lord, I'm not capable of this. I can't do that. I'm deeply concerned.

But I don't know how to do this. But that's, when you open up, that's where God can give you what the next step is, right? I think that's really the key. One of the things when we take groups through this is I have this handful of little principles, and one of them is God will never work through you significantly until he works deeply in you. And I think the broken spirit, I mean, even the Apostle Paul, his words, who is adequate for these things?

And the great enemy of the Christian life, I think C.S. Lewis said it's the chief of all the sins, is pride. And what you know, whether it's Old Testament and Proverbs or New Testament, is there is something that God is adamantly opposed to 100% of the time, and it's pride. And yet, there's something else that 100% of the time, when he sees it in a human heart, when he sees it in a nation, he's drawn to it, and it's a broken spirit. I think in Psalm 34, he says, A broken spirit and a contrite heart, O God, you will not despise. And in Psalm 51, where David is praying, and he's blown it, right?

Adultery, murder. If burnt offerings would make me right with you, God, I would. This is, I'm coming now with a broken and contrite heart. And I think when God sees that, he is so drawn and longs to forgive and to fill. And so often, I think especially in what's happening now, I hear from so many people, Where is God, and why is he allowing these things to happen? You know, we've so mixed sort of the American dream of, When my life's going really well, God must really love me. And if life is really, really hard, did God move? When in reality, often it is in the kindness and the allowance of suffering and difficulty and pain that brings us to the end of ourselves.

No one gets to the bottom usually on their own. And whether it's an emotional or a relational or a betrayal or a health or a cancer, and Gary, you and I, you're a little older than me, but I'm getting up there. I've been through most all those things now. And I've cried out in tears, Oh God, please don't let my wife die of cancer.

And by God's grace, he brought her through that. But we've lost loved ones. We've been through horrendous times. We've failed.

We've made big mistakes. It's in those times when I honestly felt like I bring nothing to the table, that I have sensed and experienced the intimacy and the grace and the love of God that, honestly, I think positions us to help others the most. I think anyone who has had some age and some time walking with God can identify with what you're saying. And when we see the pain and the problem and all of that and realize it's beyond us, we don't have the ability to do that. And the good news is we don't have to do it. We do have to open our hearts to let God do it through us. And God is capable of doing everything he has in mind for us. He can help us walk with us and accomplish it.

And I want to make sure people don't hear that this is only sort of a spiritual, personal, internal journey. Because what happens is when he begins to speak to you, then he says some things like, I know for myself and many others, it's like, I want you to write the biggest check you've ever wrote in your life. Or I want you to relocate. Or I want you to change careers.

Or no, I want you to forgive your ex-spouse. And I think let's not pretend that God's assignment is going to be some easy assignment, as one leader said. He goes, I just don't have any verses in the Bible where God says to someone, hey, I've got a really easy job for you.

You're going to love it. Leadership and stepping out, it takes a radical step of faith. And if you're not afraid, at least to some degree, you're either in denial. But being afraid is not wrong.

Not acting because you're afraid, that's what's wrong. I think we've got a Christianity that has been developed more and more in the West that assumes that God's real desire is to make me healthy and happy and whole and life to go well for me all the time. And of course, in His goodness and His kindness, He does such great measure of that. But in a fallen world and with a mission, that's not the Christian life.

And I think many people are disillusioned, Gary, with God or their relationship with God because their expectations are not one that are biblical. I mean, you know, Peter would say, you are highly esteemed when you suffer for doing what is right. And Jesus would say, rejoice. I mean, when you're persecuted for my sake. And you know, Paul said that here's a promise. All those who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus, you will be persecuted. And I think we're living in a day where now Christianity is on the margins. We just need to get used to, we're just not going to be cool. But we sure can be loving. Well, Chip, this has been an exciting conversation and a conversation that I hope our listeners are going to take to heart and take some steps here.

But let me ask you this. What impact has the concept of this book had in your own life and the lives of others that you're acquainted with? What is your hope for those who read this book? Well, in my own life, much of what we shared, Gary, it was, my holy ambition was that the church would be the church, that Christians would live like Christians. And that theme of discipleship, as I say it that way, has birthed Living on the Edge. It started as a radio ministry, and then it was small group resources. And then we started training pastors.

And then in the pandemic, we started to mentor people online, and then we helped some people in desperate straits. And now God is discipling people, literally, all around the world on the ground, even as we speak in multiple countries in Africa and India and South America, Central America. I would have never dreamed, but it started with, I don't want anyone to grow up in a church or meet Christians where they would say, if that's what it means to be a follower of Jesus, I don't want any part of it. I've never had the goal that we would be perfect or above, you know, better than others, but in the sense that we'd be real, we'd be authentic, that we would be loving, that we'd be honest, we'd be transparent.

And when we blow it, we would just own it, that people would actually see in us the person of Jesus. As a result of kind of that holy ambition process, which was my very first book and really my life message, a lot of things just rolled out of that as I helped other people see theirs, then whole ministries and different partnerships, lots of Jenny Allens out there, not as many that are that famous, and they don't need to be. But people that have launched ministries to autistic kids and people that have decided that, you know, we're going to be on the Board of Education and we're going to really help our schools thrive in the name of Jesus. So my hope and my dream is that someone would say, I think I'm going to ask God why I'm here and maybe get a couple people to ponder it with me and go through the book. And, you know, there's some questions at the end of the chapters and there's a journey and that many holy ambitions would get birthed and as a result, many people would get loved and that God would be glorified. Well, that's certainly my hope as I've listened to you and I hope that this new edition people will reach out if they didn't read the original edition.

If they did, maybe they need to read it again depending on where they are in their journey. But I do believe that reading this book and reflecting upon these principles can lead many of our listeners to a life that's going to be far more meaningful than they ever, ever dreamed it would be. So Chip, thanks for being with us today and thanks for taking time to pull this new edition together and my prayer is with you that God will use this in a positive way in the lives of many individuals. Thanks so much, Gary. What an encouraging, challenging, hopeful conversation with Chip Ingram today. If you want to find out more about the featured resource, Holy Ambition, just go to, click the Moody Radio icon right there, and you'll see more about Holy Ambition. And next week, are the instincts of men toxic or good? Find out how to become the man God wants you to be in one week. It's a great conversation for Father's Day weekend and remember, you can find simple ways to strengthen relationships at A big thank you to our production team today, Steve Wick and Janice Todd. Building Relationships with Dr. Gary Chapman is a production of Moody Radio in association with Moody Publishers, a ministry of Moody Bible Institute. Thanks for listening.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-04-06 13:35:39 / 2023-04-06 13:55:25 / 20

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