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Vision Week - Radio Special - Part A

Connect with Skip Heitzig / Skip Heitzig
The Truth Network Radio
October 24, 2022 6:00 am

Vision Week - Radio Special - Part A

Connect with Skip Heitzig / Skip Heitzig

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October 24, 2022 6:00 am

On this program, Skip sits down for an interview with Chip Lusko, taking a look back at the start of this radio ministry and the greatest lessons he has learned from his past forty years of ministry.

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Somebody said the two greatest days in your life are the day you were born, number one.

Number two, the day you discovered what you were born for. That's the Romans 12 principle. So you present your body, Lord, why am I here? What do you want me to do?

Show me. You know, that's what Paul said on the Damascus Road, Saul of Tarsus. Who are you, Lord? That's the first question.

Second question, what is it you want me to do? Every Christian finds out who Jesus is. That's how they get saved.

But they don't always ask the second question. This week we pause in our Hunting Giants series to go in the studio with Skip to celebrate his 40 years of ministry. This is Vision Week. Join us as we look back at his move from Southern California to New Mexico. Look around at the amazing work the Lord has done and look forward to what's next.

Let's join Skip Heitzig and Chip Lusko for this conversation. Communicating with our many friends all over the country and all over the world who make connect with Skip their daily and regular feeding of God's Word. We're taking this week off to just talk about really, in our time, we're celebrating the past. We are appreciating the present and we're really excited about the future. And so today we are, look, hey, we're 40 years in from your decision to leave the beach and plant a church in New Mexico. Church planting is not for the faint of heart.

No, it's not. We call it the extreme sports of the Christian world. And for those new to our audience, let's give a quick review of what you experienced in starting Calvary of Albuquerque. Well, Chip, you were around at the time. You came to my wedding. You were there when I announced that I was moving back east. Back east, in Californian terms, is anywhere other than California in the continental United States.

So I'm moving two states away, going back east, going to New Mexico. And it was at an era, and I think it was in a place in the Jesus movement, where that was not unusual. It wasn't unusual to leave and go church planting. A lot of young men did it. A lot of Calvary chapels all over the world started that way.

Well, God put a hunch in their heart, and they decided to go out. And so I was just sort of looking for the right place. I got a letter from somebody in Aspen, Colorado, saying, would you come and do a Bible study in Aspen? And we're starting a church, and we'd like to see that happen.

I would read letters that Chuck Smith would get, and there was a thing called, I think, like, Maranatha Association or something at the time. That was sort of all about that, church planting in different parts of the country. And I'd read the mail, and Aspen, Colorado, stuck out to me. I thought, oh, I like it up there. I think it'd be a fun place to start a church. It didn't work out. The Bible study sort of folded before I was even making plans to get underway and leave. So God had another A city for me, not Aspen, but Albuquerque.

Not exactly like Aspen, but in the Rocky Mountains southwest. And I decided, let's do it. Let's have a little fun.

Let's take a risk, and let's see what happens. Right. And something happened all right.

You've often used the analogy of dropping a stone into a pond, and the ripples go out in almost an atomic fashion. Mm-hmm. And that's what's happened here. Yeah. I'm always amazed at how what goes on here does have effects in terms of print, film, radio, social media, on and on and on.

And now with the internet, we can get stuff out just exponentially. Well, I want to give you a couple of screenshots, Skip, in my mind. The first staff meeting I attended, we went to breakfast afterward at L'Epipe, and we took the church van, and everybody fitted in. Everybody on staff? I'm not sure. Or everybody in the church.

Everybody on staff. And today you'd need a couple of greyhounds, maybe more. Yeah. And then I think of our early baptisms out at the irrigation pond in the East Mountains. And then we ended up having to rent a water park in order to do a baptism.

Finally, we built our own. Look, it's a far cry from the Pacific Ocean, right? We're looking for places that just have water in them out here. And a friend had a sod farm. He grew grass, and that was his business. Acres and acres of it out in the country. It's quite beautiful once you got out there. But then on his property, he had a little lake.

Actually, it was a muddy pond. And we decided that'll be where we're going to do baptisms. Now, we did it there, way out of town, because we could bring the whole church out there, set up a little stage, have food, have a time of worship, and a real church picnic atmosphere.

And there we would do baptisms. Yeah. I'd like your thought on this principle, though, Skip. You might recall the book from back when, The Mustard Seed Conspiracy. It talks about the biblical idea that God plants this inconspicuous seed, and then it has these huge ramifications. And that's kind of what I see this campus has become.

Yeah. We're called to go—this is the way I look at it—go deep and let God take you far. Our responsibility is to go as deep as you can to give people the truth of the Word of God and let God take care of the breadth of your ministry. You think about depth.

Let God take care of breadth. So we planted a seed in that parlance. We put a seed in the ground here. I came out here originally just to see what God would do and see if God was in it. And it was sort of like my experiment in theology, you know, just like America is the experiment in democracy. That was my experiment in church planting. And I thought, I'm going to go out here, spend a few months, maybe a year or so, and see if the Lord's going to do anything at all.

If not, I'm not going to hang around. I mean, you know, if we're called to be fishers of men, I've always looked at it this way. If you fish in the same place for like a year and catch nothing, it's probably a good thing to move somewhere else. So I had that in mind. You know, I was young, newly married, had really nothing to lose from making a move like that. And I was all about adventure. I traveled the United States for several months after my brother died just to check different places out. I had come through Albuquerque. I really liked what I saw.

I loved the skies, the clouds, the mountains, the arid environment, kind of rugged. And, you know, I just thought, yeah, sure, I'll try it. It was sort of that simple. It wasn't really a deep God spoke to me. I just thought, yeah, I'll do that.

That sounds good. I prayed about it. Let's go. So there was exponential growth, but it wasn't all pixie dust and fairy tales. There were speed bumps. Speak about any discouragement you may have faced. Well, there are speed bumps. I mean, not a word, there always are. And there's enough things out there to take the wind out of your sails, whether they're people, problem people, people you trust too soon, people who stab you in the back because of that, people who have a different vision, people who love you one day in your ministry and then decide to make things very difficult the next, people you bring alongside of you on staff with different agendas. So there's those things.

You know, Paul talked about the daily concerns that he had for all the churches besides the persecution that he got. So yeah, there's been some speed bumps. There've been difficulties in terms of building, building codes, occupying places, the fire department coming against us because we didn't have enough drywall in one place, shutting us down for a week or two from the owner that we once rented from who decided that he was going to double the rent or take us to court. And I mean, I had no experience in this at all. I'm faced with a lawsuit.

I'm faced with going to court. But fortunately, God puts in the body of Christ people who are very adept at a number of things, including the law. And the Lord brought some people into our lives who were just very competent at that. And God used that speed bump to bring us to this campus. We wouldn't be here were it not for that guy who was acting sort of like as Pharaoh to extricate us from a previous lease to get us looking elsewhere. And we looked here. When we came here, we thought, this is way too big.

It'll never work. But it has proven to be used over and over again during the week, not just once, but several services on a weekend. Well, observing your priorities, Skip, I've always seen you seeking to replicate yourself, whether it was the School of Ministry, the Shepherd School, or now Calvary College, you're always lifting up leaders.

Talk about the importance of that. I read a book years ago that stuck with me. And I have reread it since in my early Christian days. It was about the Calvary Chapel movement under Chuck Smith. It was called The Reproducers. And the idea was that.

The idea is that here you find a good example. And what Paul wrote to Timothy, that you find young men who you can pour into the 2 Timothy 2 principle. And you're then going to reproduce yourself in them. They're going to reproduce themselves in others. So I've always liked the idea that ministry is not for an elite class, but it's for all of God's people.

It's all y'all. And that's how I saw a ministry model to me. And I see that now, the go-for-it mentality, see what God's calling you to, and then step out and do it.

And then let us equip you along the way. So my background now, I started in ministry without any kind of ministry formal education. My education was in radiology, was in medicine, was in nuclear medicine and CAT scans and x-rays.

So that was my background. That became sort of a tent-making thing for me, that I could go anywhere and I could get a job in a hospital or a clinic. And I could then settle in an area and then on the side do a Bible study. That was my mentality of ministry. So I didn't have formal education since then.

I went and got it, and I got several degrees. But I just thought, I can do that. I can find people who have fire in their eyes, so to speak. The tiger look in their eyes. They want ministry. They want to serve the Lord.

They want to step out. And you get the right people who are willing to sacrifice. If I could just train them up and encourage them, they could go out and do things.

And I think whether it's church plants that have come from here or missionaries that have come from there, it's always been that model. I'm sure right now we have men and women who feel that stirring in their heart. And give them some advice on some best practices, some cautionary words, but also some encouraging words. Well, I would begin with what it says in Romans chapter 12. I beseech you by the mercies of God that you present your body a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual act of worship or reasonable service.

So begin there. Begin by saying, Lord, you created me. You saved me. Why did you save me? Somebody said the two greatest days in your life are the day you were born, number one.

Number two, the day you discovered what you were born for. That's the Romans 12 principle. So you present your body, Lord, why am I here? What do you want me to do?

Show me. That's what Paul said on the Damascus Road, Saul of Tarsus. Who are you, Lord? That's the first question.

Second question, what is it you want me to do? Every Christian finds out who Jesus is. That's how they get saved.

But they don't always ask the second question. So let me just encourage listeners to say that to God. God, what is it you want specifically for my life in terms of serving the body of Christ with the gifts you've given me or reaching the world with the gifts you've given me and or those two things. So I would begin there. I would realize that when you step into ministry and you ask that question, it's going to be a wild ride.

It's going to be a lot of fun, but it's going to be wild. So you basically step into an arena where you've painted a bullseye on your back. You have an enemy of God out there, very active in our world. I think everybody listening believes and knows that, especially in the last couple years they've seen it more than ever. So realize that you're going to be maligned, vilified, marginalized, persecuted, etc., etc. Jesus said that would be the case, but I'll just say it's worth it.

It's worth every knock, every blow, every speed bump, every discouragement. There's no ride better than the ride of serving the Lord, the ride of ministry, and everybody's called to the ministry. Remember e-tickets at Disneyland? Yeah, I do. Yeah, e-tickets.

In the days when the best rides in Disneyland were obtained by the e-ticket. And so we like to say that ministry is the e-ticket. Don't you think, Skip, the Bible says the harvest is right, the laborers are few? My observation is that if you ask the Lord to use you, prepared to be taken seriously.

Yeah, he's just sort of waiting for you to ask the question. Okay, well, there you are. And yeah, I think you're right. Yeah, I agree with that. Well, you know, I couldn't do anything else.

I'm sure you couldn't. And Spurgeon said, if you can do anything else but ministry, do it. The implication being those who are called can't.

Yeah, that's good. He did challenge his students. And a great book I would recommend if you're feeling specifically called to the pastoral ministry, there's a number of them, but Charles Spurgeon's book Lectures to My Students. It's a little cumbersome because it's written in Old English, but it's very challenging nonetheless.

And he gets there. He begins with, how do you know you're called to the ministry? And part of it, you know, in those days, they didn't have PA systems. I remember going through the book saying, if you don't have a good voice that is a booming voice that can carry across a room unamplified, you're probably not called to the ministry. Well, things have changed a little bit now. So we have PA systems. But nonetheless, there's a good challenge in Spurgeon's book about how you know you're called.

And if you can be satisfied doing any other occupation, that's an indication you're not called to ministry. Speaking of books, Skip, we have a stack right here in the studio. Hard to believe. When I walked in and saw that stack, and I thought, wow, that's a lot of them.

I did it for a purpose. This is most of the books you've written, some of the DVDs you've hosted, and some of the booklets. What's missing here, Skip, is 3500 plus teachings. Wow.

And of course, as Chuck Missle said, they weigh nothing, but they weigh everything. Yeah, that's good. And they would be here.

And this is your body of work. Yeah. In the old days, they'd be cassettes, right?

Right. It'd be a lot of cassettes. Real to real, and then cassettes.

And then what was it after that? DVDs. DVDs. Or CDs. Now it's MP3 and MP4 files. Yeah. And now it's just a filling in your tooth. Yeah.

And what I really love is... So when you get a book, you buy a book or a booklet. But when it goes to those 3500 messages, you can get it for free.

You can go to the website and listen to it or download them for free. And I love the idea that we can get that stuff out for nothing. Did you ever, as a young man, think yourself to be an author? No, no. I wasn't even a reader, let alone an author. So yeah, that's fascinating.

I think one young author said, I didn't know a semi-colon from my colon. But you have a body of work here. The word prolific comes to mind, Skip, that you're leaving a huge amount of work here for people to enjoy for years to come.

You recently completed the series Dark Room. And you're a skilled photographer, Skip. I've watched you with cameras all over the world.

We never know where you're scrambling up like a mountain goat up Petra or something, taking pictures. And how has the digital technology changed your craft? Well, I was resistant.

So now we're talking shop in a very different realm. But I was very resistant. At first, I loved film. I did my own film work in a dark room, my own printing in an enlarger with chemicals.

And that was a background. It was a love of mine. It was something I planned to go into at one time in my life professionally. So I was resistant, dug my heels when the medium came out. But eventually, I capitulated to it. And I remember thinking, no, there's not quite enough information or detail in these digital images to compare to film.

But now it's the reverse. You get a certain look with film, but I love digital. I don't have to go into a dark room with chemicals. I can go into a light room on a computer. But there were some fantastic analogies you drew from your learning in a dark room, going from tray to tray, and the environment, the dark room, the red light, to what goes through in spiritual development. You use the life of Joseph as how our character is literally developed.

Right. So in photography, you have something called a latent image. And that is, you have silver halide crystals suspended on a piece of film. You expose that to light, and images form, but you can't see it. And then in the dark room with chemicals, you apply things to it, and the image comes to life. And so God uses the dark moments of our life where we're forged to create His image in us, the imprint of His image.

We're created in the image of God, but specifically in our character, the image of Christ comes to the dark moments of life, the suffering. And we are still being developed literally. That's right. It's an ongoing process.

So Skip 3,500 messages. That's a lot of time in the pulpit, and I know it's a lot of time in the chair for you. That's the time right there. Are you still energized by preparation for the pulpit?

Oh, yeah. It's what I love to do. It's where my mind goes on my days off.

When I'm not doing it, I'm thinking about doing it. And if I have a few minutes on a day off, I will go in my mind or in real life, either on my phone or with a Bible, I'll go to the text that is coming up in the next couple weeks just to get my mind soaked in some of the principles of it and start outlining it. By the way, this is Connect with Skip, normally a time of Through the Bible study with Skip Heitzig. We're taking this week off for Vision Week. We're talking about, right now, we're celebrating a 40-year anniversary of Skip's ministry, past, present, and future.

These three days will also be joined later in the week by Skip's wife, Lenya, and also by his son, Nathan, on Friday. That'll be good. They have something good to say. Always. Skip, you also are right now in the midst of a series called Always Only Jesus from the book of Colossians. I love it.

I do too. But you have made the statement, I'm going to quote that, we must always keep Jesus preeminent, the preeminent one, without rival. That's right. That's the theme of the book of Colossians. That's one of the themes of Paul's life, because he knew that there were competing philosophies, competing ideologies. It's why he got persecuted. It's why the Gnostics came after him so hard, and the heretics came after him so hard, and the legalists came after him so hard, because it was always only Jesus, the sufficiency of Christ. You need nothing else.

You need no one else. In review of the Church of Ephesians from Revelation, Jesus observed that this was a very busy church, but had left its first love. So this is always the danger, isn't it? Yeah. There's no more dangerous place to do that than in ministry, because we are dealing with spiritual things all the time so that they become familiar to us. And there's a danger with familiarity. They always say familiarity breeds contempt. In a certain sense, that can be true. You're always dealing with truth, but you're not always applying that truth to your own life on a personal level. So there's a danger. We can just sort of put it in cruise control and think we're exempt in the ministry from certain things, and that's why you see ministers fall, because they start thinking that way. And so, yeah, there's always a danger of leaving our first love.

And I don't mean ours just in terms of Christian, but I'm speaking now on a personal level. You know, 40 years is great, and so my mind now goes, how do I make sure—at least with my part, God has given me the resource to do that—how do I make sure I finish well? I want to pass the finish line as the ministry gets passed on and as I—I'll never retire, but I will restructure at some point. But how do I make sure that at the end of my course, I can say, like Paul the Apostle, I have finished my course with joy and the ministry given to me by the Holy Spirit to shepherd the church of God?

That leads to the logical next question, Skip. You're in a golden season, in my view. Your message has never been more laser-like. Your health is good, a great ministry, fruitful ministry. But what do you want your legacy to be? My legacy. I want my legacy to be that—I guess that I was faithful to the calling, that I stayed at the task.

I didn't shrink back, but I stayed at it until the end. And I want my legacy to be I made much of Jesus, that Jesus became greater in people's hearts and lives because of my life and ministry, that they walked away understanding the Bible, that what seemed to be complicated was actually very simple, that I helped make it simple for them and understandable. So all in all, G. Campbell Morgan was called in his biography a man of the word, or the man of the word. That's what I want to be, a man of the word.

Restructuring, not retiring. You heard it here from Skip Heitzig during the special Vision Week hosted by Chip Lesko. That right there was some good stuff from Skip. More like this tomorrow for another talk between Skip and Chip.

We're pausing our Hunting Giants series, but that will be back next Monday. Now, here's our offer of pivot point messages by Skip. Our lives rotate around crucial moments and decisions where everything changes.

We call them pivot points. Here's Skip Heitzig. In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while, if need be, you have been grieved by various trials. Do you think Peter is actually saying that there are times when God knows you need a trial? Is that what he's saying? Uh-huh.

That's exactly what he's saying. You can prepare for inevitable upcoming pivot points in your life. Receive your copy of Skip's pivot points collection of six messages. The pivot point package speaks to marriage, death, depression, recovery, fear of the future, and moving to a new location or job.

This package includes a personal message of direction on each topic from Skip. The pivot points package is our thank you when you give $50 or more to this teaching ministry by calling 800-922-1888 or give online securely at connectwithskip.com slash offer. We hope you'll help us take our messages into the top 20 population centers in our country.

That's our vision for the coming year. Will you help us make it happen? Please call 800-922-1888 or give online securely at connectwithskip.com slash offer. Thank you for partnering with us. When you take advantage of the resource offers on Connect with Skip, you help us take these messages to new national and international audiences. Your donation of $50 or more right now will help make our vision come true to have more people hear these teachings. When you vote for this expansion with your gift, we will send you the special pivot point messages along with study notes on each message from Skip. Call now 1-800-922-1888 or click in at connectwithskip.com. Tune in tomorrow for another talk between Skip Heitzig and Chip Lesko when they look around to review the amazing work the Lord has done taking a small Bible study in New Mexico and expanding its borders around the world. Don't miss it. . Connect with Skip Heitzig is a presentation of Connection Communications, connecting you to God's never-changing truth in ever-changing times.
Whisper: medium.en / 2022-11-13 14:11:13 / 2022-11-13 14:22:37 / 11

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